Today at Fort Valley State University, Assistant Secretary of Agriculture Gregory Parham announced that USDA is making $30 million available to farmers, ranchers and food entrepreneurs. This funding will be made available through the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program in order to generate new products, create and expand marketing opportunities.
"Value-Added Producer Grants enable Ag producers and entrepreneurs to develop new product lines to grow their businesses and expand their contributions to our nation's economy. This support is especially important for beginning farmers, military veterans engaging in farming and smaller farm operations participating in the local and regional food system," said Parham.
The Notice inviting applications for Value-Added Producer Grants is on page 26528 of the May 8 Federal Register. The deadline to submit paper applications is July 7. Electronic applications submitted through grants.gov are due July 2. In Georgia, contact Craig Scroggs email@example.com or Al Burns firstname.lastname@example.org for information or to apply.
VAPG grants can be used to develop new product lines from raw agricultural products or additional uses for already developed product lines. Under the guidelines of the Notice of Funds, military veterans, socially disadvantaged, and beginning farmers and ranchers; operators of small- and medium-sized family farms and ranches; farmer and rancher cooperatives; and applicants that propose mid-tier value chain projects will be given special priority in applying for VAPGs. Additional priority is given to group applicants who seek funding for projects that "best contribute" to creating or increasing marketing opportunities for these type of operators.
Since 2009, USDA has awarded 32 Value-Added Producer Grants totaling $6.5 million to Georgia producers developing products for local food sectors such as blueberries, grass fed beef, olives, pecans and more.
Congress increased funding for the VAPG program when it passed the 2014 Farm Bill. That law builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers.
President Obama's historic investments in rural America have made our rural communities stronger. Under his leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities.