$18 Million Available for Value-Added Producer Grants
Lyons, NE - The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced that $18 million is available for the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program. The deadline to apply is November 30, 2009.
Agricultural producers, businesses owned by a majority of agricultural producers, and organizations representing agricultural producers are eligible to apply for Value Added Producer Grants for business planning or working capital expenses associated with marketing a value-added agricultural product. Agricultural producers include farmers, ranchers, loggers, agricultural harvesters and fishermen that engage in the production or harvesting of an agricultural commodity.
"Any farmer or rancher needing planning or working capital funds to move their value-added ideas forward should check out the Value-Added Producer Grants program," commented Traci Bruckner of the Center for Rural Affairs. The 2008 Farm Bill made some important changes to the Value Added Producer Grants Program by giving a priority to projects from beginning and small and mid-size family farmers and ranchers. Bruckner added, "Value-added, niche markets are one of the best strategies for creating and maintaining profitability for beginning and small and mid-size family farmers and ranchers. Those applicants that meet the beginning, small or mid-size family farm criteria will automatically get 15 points out of a total of 90 and that can certainly tip the scale in their direction."
According to Bruckner, the program was created to help producers expand their customer base for the products or commodities they produce. This results in a greater portion of revenues derived from the value-added activity being made available to the producer of the product. The Center for Rural Affairs is gearing up to help producers as much as possible during the application period by operating a Farm Bill Helpline where producers can call in and receive assistance in accessing the Value Added Producer Grants Program.
For more information on the Value-Added Producer Grants Program and how to apply, visit: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/coops/vadg.htm . Or contact Traci Bruckner, Assistant Director for the Rural Policy Program at the Center for Rural Affairs at (402) 687-2103 ext. 1016, firstname.lastname@example.org.
"The Center for Rural Affairs has a long history of assisting family farmers and ranchers to access farm bill programs," added Bruckner. "Through our helpline you will get to speak to a real person who is knowledgeable about the program rules to help you understand how to participate in the program." Producers can call (402) 687-2100 and ask for the Farm Bill Helpline.
The Value Added Producer Grantis not the only program covered by the Center's Farm Bill Helpline. Assistance is also available for the Conservation Stewardship Program, the Cooperative Conservation Partnerships Initiative, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program Organic Initiative and a host of Beginning Farmer and Rancher provisions.
For more information visit: www.cfra.org.