USDA Seeks Applications for Grants to Help Agricultural Producers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is making up to $44 million available to farmers, ranchers and businesses to develop new bio-based products and expand markets through the Value-Added Producer Grant program.

“America’s farmers, ranchers and rural business owners are innovative entrepreneurs and this program helps them grow economic opportunities for their families and communities by increasing the value of the items they produce,” Vilsack said. “The Value-Added Producer Grant program has a great track record of helping producers increase the value of products and expand their markets and customer base, strengthening rural America in the process.”

Value-Added Producer Grants may be used to develop new products and create additional uses for existing ones. Priority for these grants is given to veterans, members of socially disadvantaged groups, beginning farmers and ranchers, and operators of small- and medium-sized family farms and ranches. Additional priority is given to applicants who seek funding for projects that will create or increase marketing opportunities for these types of operators.

Since 2009, Rural Development in Pennsylvania has awarded 32 Value-Added Grants totaling $2,071,382. In 2013, Rural Development awarded a grant to Bumbleberry Farms in the amount of $27,300 to market their line of honey cream products. Since then, their sales have doubled and their business has expanded into 10 different states. Bumbleberry Farms’ products can now be found in four major retailers along the east coast. For more information on Bumbleberry Farms and their journey through the Value-Added Producer Grant process, visit www.rd.usda.gov/pa.

More information on how to apply is on page 20607 of the April 8 Federal Register. The deadline to submit paper applications is July 1, 2016. Electronic applications submitted through grants.gov are due June 24, 2016. Additional information and assistance is available through the USDA Rural Development Office serving your county.

Value-Added Producer Grants are a key element of USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, which coordinates the Department’s work to develop local and regional food systems. Secretary Vilsack describes the cultivation of local and regional food systems as one of the four pillars of rural economic development that impacts farm family income and strengthens local economies.

For additional information on the Value-Added program in Pennsylvania, visit www.rd.usda.gov/pa, or contact Amanda Hope at (717) 237-2289 or at [email protected]


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