All you beginning farmers out there with an eye towards value-added production, listen up!
USDA Rural Development has published the Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) for the Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program. The Application deadline is October 15th, 2012. In this program agricultural producers or producer groups may apply for either a feasibility study grant (maximum $100,000) or a working capital grant ($300,000 maximum). Eligible activities must be related to the processing and/or marketing of valued-added agricultural products.
There is a matching funds requirement of at least $1 for every $1 in grant funds provided by the Agency (matching funds plus grant funds must equal proposed total project costs.
Grants will be awarded competitively for either planning or working capital projects directly related to the processing and/or marketing of value-added products. Generating new products, creating and expanding marketing opportunities, and increasing producer income are the end goals. Applications that support aspects of regional strategic planning, cooperative development, sustainable farming, and local and regional food systems are encouraged. Proposals must demonstrate economic viability and sustainability in order to compete for funding.
For additional information and application procedures, contact your USDA Rural Development State Office, or visit the USDA website.