Grant funding available for agricultural producers

USDA Value-Added producer grant accepting applications until February 24, 2014.

USDA Value-Added Producer Grant

According to the USDA, the overarching goal of the VAPG program is to: “help agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of bio-based value-added products.” Certain categories may receive priority such as beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers/ranchers. Eligible applicants include: Independent Producers, Agricultural Producer Groups, Farmer or Rancher Cooperatives or Majority-Controlled Producer-Based Business Ventures. Two types of grants are available: Planning grants and Working Capital Grants.

Eligible activities for Planning Grants include: third-party feasibility analyses related to the proposed value-added project, business operations planning for a value-added venture and legal or consultant costs. The maximum grant award for the planning grants is: $75,000.

Eligible activities for Working Capital Grants include: labor costs for non-owner employees, short term facility rental or equipment for processing, utility costs, transportation, marketing and advertising, legal costs, etc. The maximum grant award for working capital grants is $200,000.

Grant funds cannot be used to purchase property, for construction or to purchase equipment. There is a cost-sharing requirement whereby cash or eligible in-kind matching funds equal to at least the amount of grant funds requested are required.

For producers interested in pursuing this funding opportunity, please visit the Rural Development Value-Added Producer Grant Program website, where you can locate specific information on eligibility criteria, allowed uses for grant funds, available resources, application instructions and toolkits that will help with the application process. If you are interested, please do not delay. USDA Rural Development personnel are better able to assist you well in advance of the grant deadline. To find the nearest USDA Rural Development office, please visit the USDA State Office Directory.

For more information on grants in general, please contact your local Michigan State University Extension office or visit the following websites for more grant options: ATTRA, the USDA National Agricultural Library, Beginning Farmers or MOSES Organic for organic grant options. 

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