The United States Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications for the Value-Added Producer Grant Program. USDA recently announced the availability of $18 million for the program administered by USDA Rural Development.
The purpose of the grant program is to provide financial assistance through competitive grants to help producers develop new products, assist with marketing opportunities and increase overall income. The maximum amount available for a planning grant is $75,000, and $250,000 for a working capital grant. Grants also require matching funds for 50 percent of the total cost of projects.
Funds awards through the Value-Added Producer Grant Program may be used for planning activities such as feasibility studies and the development of business plans for processing and marketing the proposed value-added product. Grants can also be applied to working capital expenses including processing costs, along with some inventory and salary expenses.
Priority may be given to applications from beginning farmers and ranchers or socially-disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. Applicants may also receive priority if they are small or medium-sized operations structured as a family farm, a farmer or rancher cooperative, or are proposing a mid-tier value chain.
Independent producers, agricultural producer groups, and cooperatives are all eligible to apply. Paper applications for the Value-Added Producer Grant Program are due by January 31, 2018, and electronic applications are by January 24, 2018.