Funding to producers supports feasibility studies for business expansion, changing or expanding processes to add value to existing crops, or marketing and promotional materials
WASHINGTON, May 8, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is making $30 million available to farmers, ranchers and food entrepreneurs to develop new product lines. Funding will be made available through USDA’s Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program.
“Farmers and ranchers are creative people who, with a little help, can put that creativity to work and improve the bottom line for their operations,” Vilsack said. “Value-Added Producer Grants enable them 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.”
In 2014, three Nevada producers were approved for the grant. The Frey Estate Distillery in Fallon received a $49,000 grant to market its winery and distillery products and improve sales efficiency. The McCleary Ranch north of Carson City received a small grant to develop marketing materials for the historic ranch. Tahoe Cheese, located in Carson City, received $49,700 for working capital to assist with increased production and marketing of the company's specialty artisan cheeses.
For more information, contact Mark Williams at USDA Rural Development at (775) 887-1222 Ext. 116. More information on how to apply 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.
VAPG grants can be used to develop new product lines from raw agricultural products or additional uses for already developed product lines. 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 are 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.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has an active portfolio of more than $210 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.