USDA Rural Development announced funds are now available for the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program. The Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) was published in the Federal Register on Monday, November 25, 2013. It is available here. Please note changes have been made to this year’s NOFA, in particular: Application Deadline: The application period is 90 days with a deadline of February 24, 2013. Max Grant Amounts: The maximum award amounts have changed to $75,000 for Planning and $200,000 for Working Capital. Funding Levels: The NOFA referenced above combines both FY2013 carryover and new FY2014 funding, pending final appropriations. USDA will award to competitive and high scoring applications until all FY2013 carryover and FY2014 funds are expended. Criteria: The evaluation criteria scoring scheme has been revised to provide more flexibility to reviewers. Tribal Eligibility: Additional clarifying language is provided in the NOFA regarding eligibility and required process for accessing priority categories. View a copy of the news release. As well, we encourage you to visit USDA Rural Development’s website for the Value-Added Producer Grant program which includes helpful information including: NOFA Application Toolkits for Planning and Working Capital applications Topic-specific information sheets Call for Independent Reviewer resumes We anticipate offering training opportunities on the program soon. We will share that information as soon as possible. Additional resources are also available online from Agricultural Marketing Resource Center at www.agmrc.org. If you have any questions, please contact Karen Firestein at firstname.lastname@example.org or (530) 792-5829.