Value-Added Producer Grants Available
The Rural Business-Cooperative Service of the USDA announces the availability competitive grant funds for fiscal year 2009 to help independent agricultural producers enter into value-added activities. Awards may be made for planning activities or for working capital expenses, but not for both. The maximum grant amount for a planning grant is $100,000 and the maximum grant amount for a working capital grant is $300,000.
Specifically, the grants may be used for planning activities and for working capital for marketing value-added agricultural products and for farm-based renewable energy. Eligible applicants are independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives, agricultural producer groups, and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures. Please note that businesses of all sizes may apply, but priority will be given to Small and Medium-Sized Farms or Ranches that are structured as Family Farms. There is no restriction on the minimum grant size that will be awarded. In FY 2008, 31 percent of awards were $50,000 or less.
The following ideas are suggested for the use of the grant funds:
- alternative uses of agricultural products
- value-added processing of agricultural commodities to produce bio-materials (e.g. plastics, fiberboard)
- green chemicals
- functional foods (e.g. lutin enhanced ‘‘power bar’’ snacks, soy enhanced products)
- on-farm renewable energy
- biofuels (e.g. ethanol, biodiesel).
The FY2009 Value Added Producer Grants program opened on May 6, 2009 and the application deadline is July 6, 2009. For more information about the program, interested individuals are being asked to contact their State Rural Development Office to obtain additional information and assistance. A contact person, address, phone number, and e-mail address for each State Office is posted on this website http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/coops/vadg.htm#jump. For Ohio, the contact list is available at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/oh/so-list.htm