Program 101

What does this program do?

The VAPG program helps agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of bio-based, value-added products. Generating new products, creating and expanding marketing opportunities, and increasing producer income are the goals of this program. You may receive priority if you are a beginning farmer or rancher, a socially-disadvantaged farmer or rancher, a small or medium-sized farm or ranch structured as a family farm, a farmer or rancher cooperative, or are proposing a mid-tier value chain. Grants are awarded through a national competition. Each fiscal year, applications are requested through a notice published in the Federal Register and through an announcement posted on Grants.gov.

Program Status: Application Date TBD
Estimated Program Funding: TBD for FY 2015; typically $10-15 million
Maximum Grant Amount: $175,000 for planning grant; $300,000 for working capital grants
Matching Funds Requirements: 50% of total project costs

Who may apply for this program?

Independent producers, agricultural producer groups, farmer- or rancher-cooperatives, and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures are eligible to apply for this program.

How may funds be used?

Grant and matching funds can be used for planning activities or for working capital expenses related to producing and marketing a value-added agricultural product. Examples of planning activities include conducting feasibility studies and developing business plans for processing and marketing the proposed value-added product. Examples of working capital expenses include:

  • Processing costs
  • Marketing and advertising expenses
  • Some inventory and salary expenses

How do I get started?

Before you apply:

  • Request a Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number if your organization doesn’t already have one. It should not take more than a few business days to get your number. However, you should plan on requesting it at least a month before the application deadline because you’ll need that number for the next pre-application step (see below).
  • Register your organization with the System for Award Management (SAM) if you aren’t already registered. The registration is free, but you need to complete several steps. It’s a good idea to start the registration process at least a month before any application deadline. Before you start the registration process, we suggest reading through the HELP materials available on the SAM website. Then, you’ll need to create an account. After you create your account by setting up a user ID and password, you can register your organization. Remember, you’ll need your DUNS number to complete your registration. Also, make a note of your CAGE code and expiration date because you’ll need those for your application.

Additional requirements:

You need to read the Federal Register notice for the details on what is needed for an application. Make sure you start putting together the required information at least a month before the application deadline because you may need to provide letters of commitment or support from other organizations, a work plan and budget, and other information that will take you some time to look up or write. You may also need to fill out required forms.  You can get copies of those forms from your nearest Rural Development Office. Below are links to optional forms that may assist you in developing your application.

Who can answer questions?

If you have questions, you can contact your nearest Rural Development Office.

Will I Need to Send Any Reports if I Receive a Grant?

If you receive a grant, you will need to send regular financial and performance reports.  Your grant agreement will tell you how often you need to send the reports, what forms you need to use, and what information you need to put in the reports.

Where can I get more information? 

In addition to many Federal regulations, the VAPG program has a regulation that is just for this program. It contains details about the program’s purpose, what you can and can’t do with grant money, application requirements, and information about how applications will be selected for funding. Remember that you need to read the Federal Register notice to get all the details about how to apply, but the program regulation also has useful information that you will need before applying for a grant.

NOTE: Because citations and other information may be subject to change please always consult the program instructions listed in the section above titled "What Law Governs this Program?" You may also contact your local office for assistance.

Forms & Resources

NOTE: Please contact your local State Office and speak to a Business Programs Specialist before attempting to fill out any forms or applications. This will save you valuable time in your application.

Preliminary Actions Required

To complete an application for this program, you must be pre-registered with the System for Award Management (SAM) and also have a Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number. Neither of these applications cost money, but they can take time so be sure to get this taken care of right away. If you are already registered with these systems, you do not need to do it again.

Planning Grant Toolkit and Optional Application Template
Working Grant Toolkit and Optional Application Template

 Other Resources

Training