What does this program do?
The Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program helps agricultural producers enter value-added activities to generate new products, create and expand marketing opportunities, and increase producer income.
You may receive priority if you are:
- Beginning farmer or rancher.
- Socially-disadvantaged farmer or rancher.
- Small or medium-sized farm.
- Ranch structured as a family farm.
- Farmer or rancher cooperative.
- Proposing a mid-tier value chain.
Program Funding: Total available funding is $19.75 million. Of this amount, COVID–19 relief funds constitute $2.75 million rolled over from the FY 2021 appropriations. The other $17 million comes from the FY 2018 Farm Bill and recovered funds.
Maximum Grant Amount: Planning Grants $75,000; Working Capital Grants: $250,000.
Matching Funds Requirements: The $2.75 million in COVID–19 relief funds may include a reduced cost share match requirement of 10 percent of the grant amount. The other available funds have a statutory cost share match requirement of 100 percent of the grant amount.
Who may apply for this program?
Independent producers, agricultural producer groups, farmer- or rancher-cooperatives, and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures, as defined in the program regulation, are eligible to apply for this program.
How may funds be used?
Grant and matching funds can be used for planning activities or for working capital expenses related to producing and marketing a value-added agricultural product. Examples of planning activities include conducting feasibility studies and developing business plans for processing and marketing the proposed value-added product. Examples of working capital expenses include:
- Processing costs.
- Marketing and advertising expenses.
- Some inventory and salary expenses.
How do I get started?
Interested applicants are encouraged to review the materials, including application deadlines found in the Federal Register. See the To Apply tab for guidance and important Preliminary Actions Required.
Who can answer questions?
If you have questions, you can contact your nearest Rural Development Office.
Will I need to send any reports if I receive a grant?
Yes, if you receive a grant, you must send regular financial and performance reports. Your financial assistance agreement will explain how often to send the reports, what forms to use, and what information to put in the reports.
Where can I get more information?
The VAPG program has a regulation. It contains details about the program’s purpose, how to use grant funds, application requirements, and the selection process. Remember to read the Federal Register notice to get all the details about how to apply.
What law governs this program?
The VAPG program is authorized under section 231 of the Agriculture Risk Protection Act of 2000 (Pub. L. 106-224), as amended by section 6203 of the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018.
NOTE: Because citations and other information may be subject to change, please always consult the program instructions listed in the section above titled “What law governs this program?” You may also contact your local office for assistance.
Please ensure that your state is selected in the dropdown menu above to contact your local Business Programs Specialist. Speak to a Business Programs Specialist before attempting to fill out any forms or applications. This will save you valuable time in the process.
Preliminary Actions Required
It’s a good idea to start the registration process at least a month before any application deadline. To complete an application for this program, you must be pre-registered with the System for Award Management (SAM). The SAM application process is free, but it can take time so be sure to get this taken care of right away. If you are already registered with SAM, you do not need to do it again, ensure your registration remains active.
Before you start the SAM registration process, we suggest reading through the HELP materials available on the SAM website. After you create your account you can register your organization. If applicable, please make a note of your CAGE (Commercial and Government Entity) code and expiration date. Please note your Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number because you will need it for your application.
Please read the Federal Register notice for the details on how to apply. Applicants should put together the required information at least a month before the application deadline. The extra time allows collection of required materials such as letters of commitment or support from organizations, a work plan and budget, and other information.
Application toolkits can be accessed through Grants.gov.
- Harvester Applicants [PDF]
- Locally Produced Food [PDF]
- Mid-Tier Value Chains [PDF]
- Anaerobic Digesters [PDF]
There are no additional requirements at the national level.
Nebraska State Office
Federal Building, Suite 308
100 Centennial Mall North
Lincoln, Nebraska 68508-3859
Joan Scheel, Business Programs Director
Brant Richardson, Business Program Specialist
Deborah Drbal, Business Program Specialist
Christopher Faber, Loan Specialist
2601 Lakeridge Drive, Suite 2
Norfolk, Nebraska 68701
Bill Sheppard, Business Programs Specialist
Daniel Janke, Business Programs Specialist
Eastern Service Counties: Antelope, Boone, Burt, Butler, Cass, Cedar, Clay, Colfax, Cuming, Dakota, Dixon, Dodge, Douglas, Fillmore, Gage, Hamilton, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Lancaster, Madison, Merrick, Nance, Nemaha, Nuckolls, Otoe, Pawnee, Polk, Pierce, Platte, Richardson, Saline, Sarpy, Saunders, Seward, Stanton, Thayer, Thurston, Washington, Wayne and York.
4009 6th Avenue, Suite 1
Kearney, Nebraska 68845-2386
Jolene Jones, Business Loan Technician
Central Servicing Counties: Adams, Blaine, Boyd, Brown, Buffalo, Cherry, Custer, Dawson, Franklin, Furnas, Garfield, Gosper, Grant, Greeley, Hall, Harlan, Holt, Hooker, Howard, Kearney, Keya Paha, Loup, Phelps, Rock, Sherman, Thomas, Valley, Webster and Wheeler.
818 Ferdinand Plaza, Suite B
Scottsbluff, Nebraska 69361-4401
Marla Marx, Business Programs Specialist
Western Servicing Counties: Arthur, Banner, Box Butte, Chase, Cheyenne, Dawes, Deuel, Dundy, Frontier, Garden, Hayes, Hitchcock, Keith, Kimball, Lincoln, Logan, McPherson, Morrill, Perkins, Red Willow, Scottsbluff, Sheridan and Sioux.
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