USDA Announces VAPG Recipients
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA has selected 110 recipients to receive business development assistance through the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program. Funds totaling more than $16 million were awarded.
The awards announced today include 11 projects involving bio-based products. They include grants to convert: corn stover to anhydrous ammonia; miscanthus fiber, wood and goat manure into biochar and enhanced compost; and sorghum to electricity and fertilizer.
USDA Rural Development is funding an array of projects involving locally produced and marketed foods. These include cheese, wine, reduced-cholesterol dairy products, produce, packaged poultry, pork and beef products, and a variety of processed or prepared foods from locally grown fruits and vegetables.
Wisconsin Food Hub Cooperative in Madison, Wis., will use a $150,000 working capital award to assist in the startup of a regional fresh produce food hub and packinghouse that was created to enhance access to wholesale markets for the local farm economy and create private-sectors jobs. The food hub will aggregate local produce sold under the Wisconsin Farmed brand.
Glenmary Gardens in Bristol, Va., will use a $213,000 grant to expand the processing and marketing of locally grown fruits and vegetables into jellies, ice cream, and flavored syrups. Glenmary Gardens is a family-owned operation providing freshly grown berries, fruits and vegetables to the Virginia and Tennessee Tri-City area.
Since the start of the Obama Administration, the VAPG program has helped more than 600 agricultural producers and rural businesses.
For a complete list of recipients receiving grants, please click here.
Value-added grant funds may be used for feasibility studies or business plans, and as working capital for marketing value-added agricultural products and for farm-based renewable energy projects. Eligible applicants include independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives, agricultural producer groups and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures. Value-added products are created when a producer increases the consumer value of an agricultural commodity in the production or processing stage.
Value-added Producer Grants Support Local Producers, Biobased Initiatives, News Release, USDA, May 2013.
Know Your Farmer Know Your Food, USDA, 2013.
Visit USDA's Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) website to access the latest information for this grant program.
During the last round of funding, USDA selected 298 VAPG recipients in 44 states and Puerto Rico to receive assistance, awarding more than $40.2 million. A complete list of the recipients is available online.
Need answers to ag-related questions? Use this USDA tool to locate and contact a land-grant university Cooperative Extension specialist in your state.
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), an NRCS program, provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers. Three EQIP Initiatives may be of particular interest to value-added ag producers: (1) The On-Farm Energy Initiative, (2) Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative and (3) Organic Initiative. For more details, contact your local NRCS field office.
grants.com - This website provides information on over 1,000 federal grant programs and access to approximately $500 billion in annual awards, including the Value-Added Producer Grant program.
Guide to USDA Funding for Local and Regional Food Systems, National Sustainable Ag Coalition, 2010 - This guide describes 14 USDA grant and loan programs that support the development of local and regional food systems. Users are provided with application guidelines, matching requirements and contact information for each program.