Tricounty News

Add value with a producer grant



The United States Department of Agriculture is accepting applications for $18 million in Value-Added Producer Grants to develop value-added agricultural business ventures. July 6, 2009, is the deadline to apply for a Value-Added Producer Grant. Farmers, ranchers or groups of producers with an idea that would add value to products raised on their farms or ranches are eligible. A special reserve is set aside for beginning and socially-disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. The deadline to apply for reserved funds is June 22.

These grants are popular and competitive and the application process can be complicated, but fortunately, help is available. The Center for Rural Affairs is operating a Farm Bill Helpline where producers can call in and receive assistance in accessing programs like the Value-Added Producer Grant.

Increasing the value of a raw agricultural product between harvest and sale of the final product typically includes processing in some way such as cleaning, cutting, labeling, smoking, drying, freezing, or preserving. Marketing unique and high-quality food products also adds value to farm and ranch products. Many consumers are willing to pay a premium for locally produced, high-quality, natural or organic farm-raised products.

Through our helpline, you will speak to a real person who is knowledgeable about the program. Producers can call (402) 687-2100 and ask for the Farm Bill Helpline.

For further information on these grants and how to apply, contact Mike Heavrin, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , (402) 687-2103, ext. 1008, or visit: www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/coops/vadg.htm.

For more information: www.cfra.org.