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USDA Invites Applications for Value-Added Producer Grant To Assist Small Businesses, Farmers and Ranchers

“The VAPG program will help the producer promote business expansion and entrepreneurship by helping local businesses access capital, technical assistance and new markets for their products and services.”

Ernie Watson - Public Affairs Specialist

Rural Development

U.S. Department of Agriculture

6200 Jefferson NE, Room 255 Albuquerque, NM 87109

Phone 505-761-4951 Fax: 505-761-4976

 

"Committed to the future of rural communities"
"Estamos dedicados al futuro de las comunidades rurales"

 

Release No. 11-71-01

For Immediate Release

 

USDA Invites Applications for Value-Added Producer Grant

To Assist Small Businesses, Farmers and Ranchers

Program Is Essential to Job Creation and Business Growth

 

(August 2, 2011 Albuquerque, NM) USDA Rural Development State Director Terry Brunner announced that applications are being accepted for grants to provide economic assistance to independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives, and agricultural producer groups through the Value-Added Producer Grant Program (VAPG).

    “By creating value-added products from their own agricultural products, small businesses, farmers and ranchers can expand economic opportunities, create jobs and keep wealth in rural communities.”  Brunner added, “The VAPG program will help the producer promote business expansion and entrepreneurship by helping local businesses access capital, technical assistance and new markets for their products and services.”

 USDA Rural Development will award planning grants of up to $100,000 and working capital grants of up to $300,000 to successful applicants.  VAPG can be used for planning activities such as feasibility studies, marketing and business plans, or for working capital.  VAPG grants could be used, among many other things, to provide a marketing study to determine the sales potential of diced tomatoes or salsa from chile.  Working capital, including salaries and utilities, may support the processing of tomatoes into salsa or creation of renewable energy through anaerobic digesters, as well as many other possibilities.  Eligible products include value-added projects as well as the aggregating and marketing of food products that are distributed in the state or within 400 miles of the farm or ranch.

Priority will be given to Operators of Small-Sized Farms ($250,000 or less in annual gross receipts of ag products) and Medium (up to $1 million in annual gross receipts of ag products or Ranches that are structured as Family Farms; Beginner Farmers or Ranchers; Socially-Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers, Farmer or Rancher Cooperatives, and Mid-Tier Value Chain projects.  Mid-Tier Value Chain projects involve local and regional supply networks that link independent producers with businesses and cooperatives that market value-added products.  Applicants must provide matching funds equal to the amount of the grant requested.

Ten percent of the available funding is reserved for beginner farmers or ranchers and socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers. An additional 10 percent is reserved for projects involving Mid-Tier Value Chain projects.

The deadline to apply for a Value Added Producer Grant is Monday, August 29, 2011.  Applicants are urged to contact Rural Development well in advance of the deadline to discuss their application.  The Rural Development State Office may be reached at 505.761.4953.

An application template, as well as the Notice of Funds Availability and the Interim Final Rule, can be found at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_VAPG_Grants.html .  If application submission is by paper, the application must be postmarked and mailed, shipped, or sent overnight by Monday, August 29.  Paper applications must be submitted to the Rural Development State Office, 6200 Jefferson NE, Room 255, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87109.  Electronic applications must be submitted by August 29 via http://www.grants.gov following the instructions provided at that site. 

USDA Rural Development's mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents. Rural Development fosters growth in homeownership, finances business development and supports the creation of critical community and technology infrastructure. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development's web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/ .

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