The Value-Added Producer Grant program (VAPG), a subprogram of the Local Agriculture Market program (LAMP), provides grants, awarded on a competitive basis, to individual independent agricultural producers, groups of independent producers, producer-controlled entities, organizations representing agricultural producers, and farmer or rancher cooperatives to create or expand value-added producer-owned businesses. Priority is given to projects that increase opportunities for small and mid-sized family farms, and/or for beginning, veteran, and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
The term “value-added” includes: an agricultural commodity or product that has (a) undergone a change in physical state, (b) was produced, marketed, or segregated (i.e., identity-preserved, eco-labeling) in a manner that enhances its value or expands the customer base of the product, or (c) is aggregated and marketed as a locally-produced food. Grants may be used to:
• Engage in economic planning to develop business plans and feasibility studies (including marketing plans) needed to establish viable marketing opportunities for value-added products; or
• Acquire working capital to operate or expand a value-added business venture.
The maximum award per project is $75,000 for a planning grant, and $250,000 for a working capitol grant. Grant funds may not be used for repair, acquisition, or construction of a building or facility or to purchase, rent or install fixed equipment.
USDA’s Rural Business Cooperative Service administers the program and grant applications are first screened through each state’s USDA Rural Development Office. For more information about these local grant opportunities, contact Barry Christensen with USDA - Rural Development, in its Ephraim Office. He can be reached at 435-283-8004 extension 107.
Applications are due March 5th, 2020.