– USDA Rural Development Acting State Director Karissa Stiers announced that the agency is awarding $785,940 in grants to six Kansas recipients. Nationally, USDA is providing more than $45 million to help farmers, ranchers, small businesses and entrepreneurs to develop new product lines
“The Value-Added Producer Grant Program (VAPG) provides needed working capital to agricultural-based entrepreneurs to assist with bringing new products to market,” said Stiers. “The program has a proven track record of assisting businesses financially with expanding products and revenues, which in turn creates economic growth within a rural community.”
The announcement was made at Bauman’s Cedar Valley Farms, in Garnett, Kan., which was selected to receive a $49,948 VAPG award to purchase inputs for the company’s feed mill to produce non-GMO, non-medicated livestock feed. Bauman's Cedar Valley Farms began in 2001 as a small, sustainable family farm operation. Over the years, the farm has expanded to include a poultry processing facility and a feed mill. In 2015, Bauman’s opened the feed mill because of a need for non-GMO poultry feed, and now they produce feed for swine and small and large ruminants as well.
VAPG awards can be used to develop new product lines from raw agricultural products or to expand a market for established products. Veterans, socially-disadvantaged groups, beginning farmers and ranchers, operators of small- and medium-sized family farms and ranches, and farmer and rancher cooperatives are given special priority.
In addition to Bauman’s Cedar Valley Farms, five other Kansas agricultural businesses received VAPG awards including:
Holy-Field Vineyard & Winery
Funds will be used to expand marketing of the company’s wine into Johnson County and the Leavenworth Farmers Market.
Holy Goat Creamery
Funds will be used to launch the production of farmstead cheeses made from goat’s milk.
Munson Angus Farm
Junction City, Kan.
Funds will be used to develop a marketing campaign that would sell all cuts of beef from Munson Angus Farm’s cattle.
Schenker Family Farms
Funds will be used to launch sales of meat-based soups and entrees made with chicken, pork, and beef raised on the farm.
White Tail Run Winery
Funds will be used to increase the production of the winery’s Seyval Blanc wines.
USDA has awarded 1,441 VAPG awards since 2009, totaling $183 million. Congress increased funding for the program in the 2014 Farm Bill. The grants are a key element of USDA's Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, which coordinates the Department's work on local and regional food systems. Secretary Vilsack has identified local and regional food systems as a key component of rural economic development.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $213 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.
For more information on the Value-Added Producer Grant Program, contact Nancy Pletcher, USDA Business Programs Specialist in Topeka, at (785) 271-2733, or visit the agency’s website at www.rd.usda.gov/ks.