Thursday, May 14, 2015

$30 Million available

USDA Announces $30 Million Available for Food Entrepreneurs and Agricultural  Producers to Develop New Products

Funding to support beginning, veteran, and socially-disadvantaged farmers and ranchers to expand businesses

WASHINGTON, May 11, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is making $30 million available to farmers, ranchers and food entrepreneurs to develop new product lines. Funding will be made available through USDA’s Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program.  “Farmers and ranchers are creative people who, with a little help, can put that creativity to work and improve the bottom line for their operations,” Vilsack said. “Value-Added Producer Grants enable them to develop new product lines to grow their businesses and expand their contributions to our nation’s economy. This support is especially important for beginning farmers, military veterans engaging in farming and smaller farm operations participating in the local and regional food system.”
More information on how to apply can be found in the May 8, 2015 edition of the Federal Register (  The deadline to submit paper applications is July 7. Electronic applications submitted are due July 2.  For more information in Colorado contact Don Nunn, (720) 544-2907,

VAPG grants can be used to develop new product lines from raw agricultural products or additional uses for already developed product lines. Military veterans, socially disadvantaged, and beginning farmers and ranchers; operators of small- and medium-sized family farms and ranches; farmer and rancher cooperatives; and applicants that propose mid-tier value chain projects are given special priority in applying for VAPGs. Additional priority is given to group applicants who seek funding for projects that “best contribute” to creating or increasing marketing opportunities for these type of operators.

Since 2009, USDA has awarded 853 Value-Added Producer Grants totaling $104.5 million. In Colorado, 14 grants have been awarded totaling over $1.6 million.  Congress increased funding for the VAPG program when it passed the 2014 Farm Bill. That law builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. This program has a matching funds requirement and may be in the form of cash or eligible in-kind contributions.

Since the bill’s enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including expanding access to rural credit, developing new markets for rural-made products, and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve the quality of life in rural America. For more information visit

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