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Grants available for value-added ag projects

September 4, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC — Grants are available from the USDA to allow agricultural producers to add value to their products, expanding their markets and customer base, with the Value Added Producer Grant program (VAPG). Applicants have until October 15 to apply.

The grants are available for planning activities or for working capital expenses, but not for both. The maximum grant amount is $100,000 for planning grants and $300,000 for working capital grants. For example, Unruh Greenhouse LLC in West Union, Iowa received a VAPG working capital grant to process and package local produce for nearby grocery stores, universities and hospitals. Schmidt Farms Inc. in Rawlins County, Kansas received a working capital grant to expand the market for their product lines which includes beef, chicken, and eggs.

The company is a family farm that has been in the meat business for the last 25 years. Schmidt Farms is building and expanding the market not only for their beef, but also for their chickens and eggs. The product lines will be marketed as being produced locally and produced farm fresh. Beef produced is promoted as being all natural and chickens as being free range and antibiotic free.

Priority will be given to operators of small and medium-sized farms or ranches that are structured as family farms, beginning farmers or ranchers, or those owned by socially-disadvantaged farmers or ranchers. Grants are available for projects up to 36 months in duration.

To apply see page 48951 of the August 15, 2012 Federal Register,