LYONS, Neb. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development has announced the availability of approximately $31 million in funding for projects as part of the Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG) program.
Individual farmers and ranchers, as well as agricultural businesses and producer groups, may apply for the grants, which must be used to develop new products or expand existing markets for value-added products. The applicant must produce at least 50% of the raw agricultural product to which value is being added.
Two separate grants are available. Planning grants of up to $75,000 help pay for feasibility studies and business planning. Working Capital grants fund up to $250,000 to cover marketing and product development costs. Projects requesting more than $50,000 require a previous feasibility study and business plan to verify product viability.
“The VAPG program provides a unique opportunity for producers on small- and mid-sized operations to invest in entrepreneurial ideas,” said Kalee Olson, policy associate for the Center for Rural Affairs. “In addition, it prioritizes projects led by beginning, veteran, and socially-disadvantaged producers.”
Applicants are required to register for a government identification number (UEI-Unique Entity Identifier). This can take two to five weeks to activate, so applicants are encouraged to register early.
Interested applicants should contact their state USDA Rural Development office for application materials and assistance. A list of state offices can be found at rd.usda.gov/about-rd/state-
— Center for Rural Affairs