The U.S. Department of Agriculture announces that a $37 million fund is available for the Value-Added Producer Grant program.
A special reserve is set aside for beginning farmers and ranchers as well as socially-disadvantaged producers.
The deadline to apply is August 29, 2011.
"Any farmer or rancher needing planning or working capital funds to move their value-added ideas forward should check out the Value-Added Producer Grants program," says Traci Bruckner, Center for Rural Affairs assistant director of policy.
"The 2008 Farm Bill made some important changes to the Value Added Producer Grants program by giving priority to projects from beginning and small and mid-size family farmers and ranchers," adds Bruckner. "Value-added niche markets are one of the best strategies for creating and maintaining profitability for beginning and small and mid-size family farmers and ranchers. Those applicants that meet the … criteria will automatically get 10 points out of a total of 100."
The Center has a history of assisting family farmers and ranchers to access Farm Bill programs. The helpline provided by the Nebraska Center, (402) 687-2100, provides a contact for growers to connect with Center staff for more information about such programs.
Agricultural producers, businesses majority-owned by ag producers, and organizations representing producers are eligible to apply for the VAPG funding. . Producers include not only farmers and ranchers, but also loggers and fishermen.
The program was created to help producers expand their customer base for the products they grow, explains Bruckner.
For application and other information on VAPG on line, go to http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_VAPG_Grants.html. Producers may also contact their USDA Rural Development State Office by calling (800) 670-6553, then pressing 1. Applicants are urged to contact their state USDA RD offices well in advance of the deadline to discuss their projects and ask questions about the application process.
For more information, visit the Center's website at www.cfra.org.