Igniting America's Rural Entrepreneurship

Posted on 09/20/2012 at 12:00 AM by Christa Hartsook

Reprinted with permission from the Center for Rural Affairs. Blog post written by John Crabtree, johnc@cfra.org, Center for Rural Affairs

In small town America, the best ways to create jobs and expand economic opportunity is fostering entrepreneurship and small business. On America’s country roads that means value added agriculture and niche marketing.

Such entrepreneurship keeps wealth in rural communities, enhances farm and ranch profitability, revives rural mainstreets and helps young families return to rural America.

For over a decade, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has made Value Added Producer Grants that assist farmers and ranchers in starting and expanding ventures that increase the value of raw farm and ranch products. These ventures include both processing of crops, produce or livestock and niche marketing - local, natural, grass-fed, organic, etc. - that also adds value.

Right now, the USDA is accepting applications for $14 million grants to develop value-added agricultural business ventures. And ten percent of that is reserved specifically for beginning farmers and ranchers and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. October 15, 2012 is the application deadline.

Farmers and ranchers - especially those just getting started - who are interested in starting up a value added venture should give a serious look at this grant program. And the Center for Rural Affairs will assist with the following fact sheets and additional information - http://www.cfra.org/node/2672. Or, producers can call our Farm Bill Helpline for help and guidance in accessing these grants and other resources by calling (402) 687-2100 and ask for the Farm Bill Helpline or emailing tracib@cfra.org.

Categories: Grants