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USDA Rural Development Discusses Available Grants during Minority and Limited Resource Farmers and Producers Annual Conference

Antonia Varner
Release Date

SIKESTON, MO., Mar. 14, 2022 – Every year, Lincoln University hosts the Minority and Limited Resource Farmers and Producers Conference. This well attended event focuses on bringing local professionals and area educators together to assist participants. This year’s conference theme focused on using the available resources around the farm to increase farm profitability. Participants were treated to presentations from Lincoln University’s Horticultural Department, USDA Rural Development (RD), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and Farm Service Agency (FSA).

Kyle Wilkens, USDA Rural Development State Director for Missouri, was in attendance and greeted the attendees prior to Rural Development’s presentation on its Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program. These grants help farmers and producers increase the profitability of their farm by turning one of their raw products into a new value-added product. For example, Hemme Dairy LLC utilized the VAPG program to process and market cheese derived from its dairy farm in Sweet Springs. These grants can be used with a variety of products such as bread, butter, cheese, ice cream, vegetables, jerky, and honey. These new value-added products can bring increased revenues to the farmers’ profitability and diversify the number products they are able to bring to market.

The grant offers two avenues of funding. The planning grant allows the applicant to pay a qualified, third-party consultant for the development of feasibility studies and business plans related to the processing and/or marketing of the proposed value-added product. The second avenue is a working capital grant to pay eligible project expenses related to the processing and/or marketing of a value-added product.

The application window for the Value-Added Producer Grant is currently open through May 2nd. The maximum award amounts are up to $75,000 for a planning grant and $250,000 for a working capital grant. The program has a total of $19.75 million in available funding, nationwide, for 2022.

If you are interested in applying, please contact USDA Rural Development Business Program Specialist Nathan Tutt, at: (573) 876-9327, or email him at: nathan.tutt@usda.gov.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements, business development, housing, community facilities and high-speed internet access in rural areas.

Contact USDA Rural Development

Information on programs available through USDA Rural Development is available by visiting www.rd.usda.gov/mo, by calling (573) 876-0976, or by emailing RDMissouri@usda.gov.

USDA Rural Development has 25 offices across the state to serve the 2.2 million residents living in rural Missouri. Office locations include a state office in Columbia, along with local offices in Butler, Charleston, Chillicothe, Clinton, Dexter, Eldon, Farmington, Higginsville, Houston, Kennett, Kirksville, Maryville, Mexico, Moberly, Neosho, New London, Poplar Bluff, Richmond, Rolla, Sedalia, Springfield, St. Joseph, Troy, and West Plains.

If you’d like to subscribe to Missouri USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.