Time to Apply for a Value Added Producer Grant Is Now

The United States Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for almost $20 million in Value Added Producer Grants to develop value-added agricultural business ventures and renewable energy sources. May 16th is the deadline to apply for a Value-Added Producer Grant. Farmers, ranchers or groups of producers with an idea that would add value to products raised on their farms or ranches are eligible.
Increasing the value of a raw agricultural product between harvest and sale of the final product typically includes processing in some way such as cleaning, cutting, labeling smoking, drying, freezing, extracting, or preserving. Marketing unique and high quality food products also adds value to farm and ranch products.

For example a dairy farmer can add value to the milk his cows produce by processing and marketing his own products, such as cheeses, yogurt, butter, ice cream, and farm-bottled milk. Many consumers are willing to pay a premium for locally produced, high-quality, natural or organic farm-raised products.

These grants are popular and competitive, with demand far outstripping available funding.This is why the Center for Rural Affairs has worked tirelessly to keep this program funded and to strengthen it in the 2007 farm bill.

For more information on these grants and how to apply contact Mike Heavrin, mikeh@cfra.org , at the Center for Rural Affairs, 402-687-2103 ext 1008, or visit: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/coops/vadg.htm.

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