USDA Funding Available

Value-Added Producer Grants

Last Friday, USDA Rural Development announced $44 million in funding for the latest round of Value-Added Producer Grants.  Approximately 200 awards of up to $250,000 each will be awarded to producers who want to expand their businesses through value-added production.

Program Details/How to Apply
VAPG provides competitive grants to producers for working capital, feasibility studies, business plans, and marketing efforts to establish viable value-added businesses. Up to $75,000 is available for planning grants and up to $250,000 is available for implementation grants. Independent producers, agricultural producer groups, farmer- or rancher-cooperatives, and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures are eligible to apply for this program. The deadline for submitting applications is June 24th for electronic applications (submitted via Grants.gov) and July 1 for paper applications (mailed to the Rural Development office in the state in which your project will take place.) 

USDA recommends prospective applicants allow at least a month to prepare their applications.  Our partners at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) released their annual Farmers Guide to the VAPG Program which walks farmers through the program’s application requirements, including a step-by-step description of the application and ranking processes. In addition, USDA will soon post a toolkit for applicants, which will include an application checklist, templates, required grant forms, and instructions.next week

Northeast Impact
The VAPG program has been funding projects since 2000, when it first received federal appropriations of $20 million. In the NESAWG 12-State Region, it has funded 361 projects (about 15% of all projects, totaling more than $34 million (just under 11% of all funding).

Be A VAPG Grant Reviewer!
Applying to be a VAPG independent grant reviewer is easy! Independent reviewers must meet the following qualifications: have at least a bachelor’s degree in one or more of the following fields: agri-business, agricultural economics, agriculture, animal science, business, marketing, economics or finance; and a minimum of 8 years of experience in an agriculture-related field (e.g. farming, marketing, consulting, or research; or as university faculty, trade association official or non-federal government official in an agriculturally-related field. Qualified independent reviewer applicants should email Tracey Kennedy (tracey.kennedy@wdc.usda.gov), attach your resume and put “VAPG Independent Reviewer Applicant” in the subject line.

More Info
VAPG Grant Opportunity on Grants.gov
USDA Rural Development VAPG program page
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition VAPG Funding Announcement Post

Photo: Cheese from the Cellars at Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro, VT.
Photo Credit: USDA