WASHINGTON — The USDA is offering grants to growers and farmers to help them develop ways to add value to their products through the Value Added Producer Grant program.
Applicants have until Oct. 15 to apply.
USDA Rural Development is making up to $14 million in grants available for projects that help farmers and ranchers produce bio-based products from agricultural commodities.
The grants, which are competitively awarded, are available for planning activities or for working capital expenses, but not for both. The maximum grant amount is $100,000 for planning grants and $300,000 for working capital grants.
For example, Unruh Greenhouse LLC in West Union, Iowa received a VAPG working capital grant to process and package, local produce for nearby grocery stores, universities and hospitals.
Schmidt Farms Inc. in Rawlins County, Kansas received a working capital grant to expand the market for their product lines which includes beef, chicken, and eggs. The company is a family farm that has been in the meat business for the last 25 years. They have been marketing their home grown beef directly to customers.
Schmidt Farms is building and expanding the market not only for their beef, but also for their chickens and eggs. The product lines will be marketed as being produced locally and produced farm fresh.
Businesses of all sizes are encouraged to apply, but priority will be given to operators of small and medium-sized farms or ranches that are structured as family farms, beginning farmers or ranchers, or those owned by socially-disadvantaged farmers or ranchers. Grants are available for projects up to 36 months in duration.