CHICAGO, Feb. 3, 2012 – USDA announced the recipients of the most recent rounds of Value-Added Producer Grants today.  The awards, which cover two funding cycles, span 298 projects in 44 States and Puerto Rico and total $40.2 million in funding. 

The Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG) program provides competitive grants to individual independent agricultural producers, groups of independent producers, producer-controlled entities, and farmer or rancher cooperatives to create or develop value-added producer-owned businesses. For a complete list of recipients receiving grants please click here.

VAPG grants may be used to fund business and marketing plans and feasibility studies or to acquire working capital to operate a value-added business venture or alliance.  Working capital applications must be supported by an independent feasibility study as well as a business plan. 

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan made the announcement in Chicago after keynoting the "Local/Regional Food System Conference" hosted at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

"Value-Added Producer Grants increase farmers' income, establish jobs in rural communities, and expand food choices for American consumers," notes Helen Dombalis, Policy Associate with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.  "This program is exactly what our country needs as we seek ways to stimulate our economy."

The states with the largest number of VAPG awards from today's announcement are Wisconsin (28), Oregon (23), New York (21), California (17), and Missouri (15). 

This round of awardees includes 62 planning grants (21 percent of the total awards) and 236 working capital grants (79 percent of the total awards).

The Value-Added Producer Grants may be used for feasibility studies or business plans, working capital for marketing value-added agricultural products and for farm-based renewable energy projects. Eligible applicants include independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives, agricultural producer groups, and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures. Value-added products are created when a producer increases the consumer value of an agricultural commodity in the production or processing stage.


This story was updated at 4:18 p.m. 2/3/2012


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