Grant Opportunities and Information


Grants have become an important part of value-added agriculture. Grants are often used to fund feasibility studies and business plans. They are also used to provide “start-up” funds to cover expenses such as legal fees. Grants may also focus on providing “working capital” to get a business started. Finally, some grants may be used to build the “bricks and mortar” associated with a processing business.

Before you start applying for a grant, you need to determine if you are ready for a grant. How to Use Grants provides you with an outline of points you need to consider as you go down the road of grant usage.

Value-added groups may have little experience writing grant applications. For help getting started, read Introduction to Grant Writing. Groups often hire a professional grant writer to help them write the grant application. To help find a grant writer, visit AgMRC’s directory of Value-added Agricultural Consultants and Service Providers.

Grants are available from a variety of public and private sources. For example, USDA Rural Development provides grants specifically designed for value-added agricultural businesses. For more information on these grants, visit USDA Value-Added Producer Grants. A list of Previous Value-Added Grant Recipients is also available. To help you when applying for one of these grants, read Value-Added Development Grants: A Reviewer’s Perspective. How Successful was the 2002 Farm Bill's Value-Added Producer Grant Program? provides an assessment of the impact of this program on value-added agriculture.

Another source of USDA grants is the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Program. State agencies also provide grants for start-up and expanding businesses. For a more thorough description of granting agencies, read Funding Sources.

For more information on this topic, see the links listed below of articles posted on related Web sites.

Understanding Grants

  • Grants – Small Business Notes -- Grants are a form of funding awarded by a private foundation, or a federal or state government department or agency.
  • Developing a Grant Proposal – Small Business Notes -- A successful grant proposal is one that is well-prepared, thoughtfully planned and concisely packaged.
  • Definition of RFP (Request for Proposals) – Small Business Notes -- When the value of a government contract exceeds $100,000 and when it necessitates a highly technical product or service, the government may issue a Request for Proposal (RFP).
  • Building Better Rural Places - USDA -- Federal programs for sustainable agriculture, forestry conservation and community development.
  • Getting Grants - Gov Spot -- Find funding sources online. The funding is out there, and with a little effort, it can be yours.
  • Find Federal Grant Opportunities - Grants.gov -- Find an apply for grant opportunities.

Grantwriting

  • Writing the Grant Proposal – Small Business Notes -- There are eight basic components to creating a solid proposal package.
  • Writing a Successful Grant Proposal - Grant Seeking in Minnesota -- Seeking grant money can be time-consuming and sometimes frustrating.  Listed here are steps to overcome these problems.
  • Proposal Writing Short Course - The Foundation Center -- The subject of this short course is proposal writing. You need to follow a step-by-step process in the search for private dollars.

Links checked July 2014.