Funding Cycle for USDA's Value Added Producer Grant Program Now Open

Dan Shields
Release Date
Jun 11, 2015

Value Added Producer Grant Program


Electronic submission due July 2, 2015

Paper Applications due July 7, 2015

Application Cycle Open: USDA Rural Development in Pennsylvania invites applications to compete for FY15 funding for the Value Added Producer Grant program. Approximately $30 million has been made available for funding this year.

Program Objective: 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.

Agricultural Producers Who May Apply:

● Independent Producers ● Agricultural Producer Groups

● Farmer or Rancher Cooperatives ● Majority-Controlled Producer Businesses

  • must produce and own more than 50% of the subject agricultural commodity

  • may not produce under contract for another entity that owns the commodity

  • may not contract out production of the agricultural commodity

  • must maintain ownership through sale of the value-added product (MTVC projects exempt)

  • projects must demonstrate entry into an “emerging market” for applicants (does not apply to IP)

Nationally Competitive Grants Available:

  • Planning Grant: To facilitate economic planning activities to determine the viability of a value-added venture, and may include costs for an independent feasibility study and development of a marketing and business plan.

  • Working Capital Grant: For operational costs directly related to the processing and/or marketing of the value- added product. Requires a third party feasibility study (FS) and business plan (BP) to implement the project, with two exceptions: (1) FS and BP requirement waived for ANY applicant requesting less than $50k; or (2) FS requirement waived for an Independent Producer applicant requesting any amount who proposes to expand the market for an existing value-added product they have produced and marketed successfully for two years or more.

Maximum Grant Amount:

  • Planning Grant - $75,000

  • Working Capital Grant - $250,000

Valid Use of Funds:

  • Examples for Planning Grants: Conducting feasibility studies and developing business plans to process and market the proposed value-added product.

  • Examples for Working Capital Grants: Funds spent toward processing costs, marketing and advertising expenses, and inventory and salary expenses.

Examples of Ineligible Costs: Land, buildings, equipment, vehicles, R&D, engineering design, agricultural production, crop harvesting, delivery of raw commodity to a processing facility, conflict of interest transactions, and industry-wide feasibility studies.

Matching Funds Required: Must be equal to or greater than the grant amount, without conflicts of interest, and must contribute to eligible value-added project purposes.

Application Toolkits: Please contact Amanda Hope at (717) 237-2289 via phone or at via email to request the application toolkit.

Application Deadline: Please note that the deadline for is July 2, 2015 and the deadline for paper applications is July 7, 2015. Paper applications can be mailed or hand delivered to the RD PA State Office – One Credit Union Place, Suite 330, Harrisburg, PA 17110.

Additional Resources