USDA Announces Funding Availability for Value Added Producer Grants
Posted on 11/25/2013 at 12:00 AM by Christa Hartsook
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the availability of nearly $10.5 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grants to help agricultural producers enter into value-added activities designed to give them a competitive business edge.
The funding is being made available through the Value-Added Producer Grant program. Grants are available to help agricultural producers create new products, expand marketing opportunities, support further processing of existing products or goods, or to develop specialty and niche products. They may be used for working capital and planning activities. The maximum working capital grant is $200,000; the maximum planning grant is $75,000.
Eligible applicants include independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives, and agricultural producer groups. Funding priority is given to socially disadvantaged and beginning farmers or ranchers, and to small- to medium-size family farms, or farmer/rancher cooperatives.
The Value-Added Producer Grant program is one of many USDA programs that support the development of strong local and regional food systems as part of the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative. Launched in 2009, the initiative strengthens ties between agricultural producers and their local communities, helping meet growing consumer demand and creating opportunities for small business development. Initiatives like this create new income opportunities for farmers, generate wealth that will stay in rural communities, and increase access to healthy, local foods in underserved communities. All of these actions boost local economies.
Rural Development is encouraging applications from Tribal organizations as well as applications that support regional food hubs. Applications supporting value-added activities related to bio-based products are also encouraged.
Grant applications are due by Feb. 24, 2014. More information about how to apply is available on page 70260 of the November 25 http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-11-25/pdf/2013-28175.pdf Federal Register, or by contacting any USDA Rural Development state office.
For more information and tools on AgMRC, visit http://www.agmrc.org/value-added-producer-grants/.