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USDA seeking farmers and rural businesses for grants

USDA seeking farmers and rural businesses for grants

About $33 million is available through the Value-Added Producer Grant program

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is calling on farmers and rural small businesses owners to apply for industry grants.

On Dec. 21, Bette Brand, deputy under secretary for rural development, invited members of the American ag industry to apply for the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program.

The VAPG “helps agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and marketing of new products.”

For fiscal year 2021, about $33 million in grants are available for interested farmers and businesses. This amount represents an increase of $14 million from the $19 million originally set out for the program.

Additional funding could also become available.

Applicants can ask for planning grants and/or working capital grants.

Planning grants, which can help fund items including feasibility studies and developing business plans, are capped at $75,000.

Working capital grants, which applicants can use to pay for items like processing costs and marketing expenses, are maxed out at $250,000.

The USDA is encouraging interested farmers and businesses to submit applications supporting recommendations made in a USDA task force report to the president.

These recommendations include e-connectivity, supporting a rural workforce and economic development.

Applicants must submit email applications by March 16, 2021. People sending in paperwork by mail must have those submitted by March 22, 2021. has contacted members of the USDA and industry groups for comment on the program and areas where these grants could benefit the ag sector and rural America.

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