Value-added products can make a significant contribution to a farm’s cash flow when a crop grown on the farm is processed into a food product, such as salsa or jam, that can be sold at a higher price. USDA offers funding to support farmers and groups of farmers developing value-added enterprises through the Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program.
USDA has adjusted the VAPG program in response to COVID, including
- extending the submission deadline to April 29 for electronic application and to a May 4 postmark for paper applications;
- increasing funding for the program to approximately $76 million; and
- reducing the cost share match requirement to 10 percent for early applicants (see details in USDA’s Amended Notice).
Administered by the Rural Business-Cooperative Service of the USDA, VAPG provides grant funding to independent producers, including farmer and rancher groups and collectives, to develop or expand value-added producer-owned businesses. There are two types of grants awarded through VAPG:
- Planning grants provide funds of up to $75,000 for economic planning activities such as the development of business and marketing plans and feasibility studies needed to establish viable marketing opportunities for value-added products.
- Working capital grants, with a maximum award amount of $250,000, directly fund the processing and/or marketing of value-added products. In general, applications with requests of $50,000 or more must be supported by an independent feasibility study and business plan.
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition includes more information about this opportunity in the VAPG section of their Grassroots Guide.
For more information, contact your state’s rural development coordinator.
Thank you to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition for contributing portions of this text.