USDA Seeks Applications for Grants to Help Agricultural Producers Increase the Value of Their Products

Posted on 04/08/2016 at 01:45 PM by Christa Hartsook

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is making up to $44 million available to farmers, ranchers and businesses to develop new bio-based products and expand markets through the Value-Added Producer Grant program.

Value-Added Producer Grants may be used to develop new products and create additional uses for existing ones. Priority for these grants is given to veterans, members of socially disadvantaged groups, beginning farmers and ranchers, and operators of small- and medium-sized family farms and ranches. Additional priority is given to applicants who seek funding for projects that will create or increase marketing opportunities for these types of operators.

More information on how to apply is on page 20607 of the April 8 Federal Register. The deadline to submit paper applications is July 1, 2016. Electronic applications submitted through grants.gov are due June 24, 2016. Additional information and assistance is available through the USDA Rural Development Office serving your county.

Since 2009, USDA has awarded 1,126 Value-Added Producer Grants totaling $144.7 million. USDA awarded 205 grants to beginning farmers and ranchers.

Two examples of Value-Added Producer Grant awards from 2015 include:

  • Shoshone-Bannock Enterprises in Fort Hall, Idaho, received a $75,000 grant to conduct a feasibility study on processing, packaging and marketing buffalo meat, a first step in identifying potential new market opportunities.
  • Sappa Valley Poultry in Oberlin, Kan., received a $49,663 grant to expand distribution of their free-range chicken products into eastern Colorado and western Kansas markets.

Congress increased funding for the Value-Added program in the 2014 Farm Bill. That law builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers.

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