Deputy Agriculture Secretary Announces Value Added Producer Grant Program Changes to Assist Farmers as They Add Value to Products
I recently began the Know your Farmer, Know Your Food College tour, and one of the locations I visited was a farmer’s market in North Carolina. Many of the regionally and locally produced products we see at farmer’s markets have a helping hand from USDA’s Value-Added Producer Grant program.
Sometimes it’s tough for a small or beginning rural business or cooperative to come up with the money for a feasibility study, marketing or packaging. That’s where USDA’s Value Added Producer Grant program can help.
Today I announced changes to the program that will create economic and job opportunities for owners of small and medium-sized family farms. They will also assist socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. I recently video-taped a segment on the Value-Added Producer Grant program that highlights these new rules for the program. These changes will help you if you are an independent producer, member of a farmer and rancher cooperative, agricultural producer, or work with local and regional supply networks.
USDA is also soliciting comments on the interim rule and the best way to help tribes apply for Value Added grants. We will also soon announce this year’s funding amount for Value Added Producer Grants, along with the deadline to apply for grants in 2011.
I have seen the contribution the value added program has made in our rural economy. It can help make a difference in your operations as well. Let me assure you that whether you need help with a business plan, working capital or support for farm-based renewable energy projects, we want to hear from you. To get started, reach out to any USDA Rural Development state or area office for more information – www.rurdev.usda.gov