Earlier this month, the USDA announced the awarding of over $40 million in grants through the Value-Added Producer Grant Program. The funds went to 298 recipients in 44 states. In announcing them, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan drew a connection between the grants and President Obama’s call for promoting American jobs and economic growth, but she would not say whether the President would be calling for mandatory funding of the program in the 2012 Farm Bill.
The Value-Added Producer Grant program is a key part of both the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act and the Local Farms, Food, and Jobs Act – bills that NYFC, in conjunction with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, is promoting. It provides matching funds for value-added producers looking to develop their businesses, a crucial way that the federal government can help small American farm-related businesses grow.
Recipients ranged from dairy production, such as Green Mountain Organic Creamery in North Ferrisburgh, VT, which received a working capital grant to market organic pasteurized bottled milk, butter, and ice cream, to greens production, such as Strawn, IL’s Living Water Farms, a hydroponic greens family company. States with the largest number of recipients were Wisconsin (28), Oregon (23), New York (21), California (17), and Missouri (15).
More information about the program and the 2012 grants can be found here.