Value-Added Producer Grant Program (VAPG) Application Deadline is August 29, 2011

Applications are being accepted for grants to provide economic assistance to independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives and agricultural producer groups through the Value-Added Producer Grant Program (VAPG).

Value-Added Producer Grants (http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_VAPG_Grants.html) 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, and agricultural producer groups. Value-added products are created when a producer increases the consumer value of an agricultural commodity in the production or processing stage.

Awards may be made for planning activities or for working capital expenses, but not for both. The maximum grant amount for a planning grant is $100,000 and the maximum grant amount for a working capital grant is $300,000. Rural Development is encouraging applications that will support communities in urban or rural areas, with limited access to healthy foods and with a high poverty and hunger rate.

Matching funds. Grant funds may be used to pay up to 50 percent of the total eligible project costs, subject to the limitations established for maximum total grant amount. Applicants must certify the availability and source-verify all matching funds at time of application submission.

The application deadline is August 29, 2011. For further details about eligibility rules and application procedures, see the June 28, 2011, Federal Register (http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-06-28/html/2011-16121.htm).

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $150 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.

Visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov for additional information about the agency’s programs or to locate the USDA Rural Development office nearest you.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

Timothy W. O’Connell | Assistant to the State Director
Rural Development

U.S. Department of Agriculture

154 Waianuenue Ave., Room 303
Hilo, HI  96720
(808) 933-8313| (808) 933-8326 (F)
Committed to the future of rural communities

www.rurdev.usda.gov