Agricultural Marketing Resource Center Assists Ag Producers in Applying for USDA Value-Added Grants
AMES, Iowa -- The Agricultural Marketing Resource Center (AgMRC) is assisting producer groups in gathering information for use in applying for the USDA Rural Business Service (RBS) value-added agriculture grants recently made available.
AgMRC is a virtual library of agricultural value-added opportunities, business development and consulting resources for producers, located at www.agmrc.org.
“There is a direct link on the home page of the site to take producers directly to the federal notice of solicitation of applications, tips on writing grants and a directory of consultants and service providers,” said Mary Holz-Clause, co-director of the center. “Additional resources for producers to develop their business or to find a new market opportunity for an existing business are also available.”
The resource link on AgMRC for the value-added producer grants is listed at http://www.agmrc.org/agmrc/business/startingbusiness/grants.htm.
Producers can investigate specific commodity information on many different niche opportunities and can locate specific laws, consultants and individual contacts within their individual state to assist them in the grant application process.
“The consultant database available on the Web site includes specific commodity consultants, business development consultants and those consultants specializing in grant writing,” said Don Hofstrand, co-director of AgMRC.
RBS announced the availability of $19.475 million in competitive grant funds for fiscal year 2006 on Dec. 21, 2005, to help independent agricultural producers enter into value-added activities. The grant will fund one of the following two activities:
Developing feasibility studies or business plans (including marketing plans or other planning activities) needed to establish a viable value- added marketing opportunity for an agricultural product; or
Acquiring working capital to operate a value-added business venture or an alliance that will allow the producers to better compete in domestic and international markets.
Value-added products are defined as follows:
A change in the physical state or form of the product (such as milling wheat into flour or making strawberries into jam);
The production of a product in a manner that enhances its value, as demonstrated through a business plan (such as organically produced products);
The physical segregation of an agricultural commodity or product in a manner that results in the enhancement of the value of that commodity or product (such as an identity preserved marketing system).
Value-added also includes using any agricultural product or commodity to produce renewable energy on a farm or ranch.
Applications must be completed and submitted no later than March 31, 2006.
Located at Iowa State University (ISU), AgMRC is a national center for value-added agriculture resources. Partnering institutions include ISU Extension, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) at ISU, Kansas State University and the University of California. For more information, visit www.agmrc.org or call toll-free at (866) 277-5567.
Mary Holz-Clause, Co-director, Ag Marketing Resource Center, (515) 294-0648, email@example.com
Don Hofstrand, Co-director, Ag Marketing Resource Center , (641) 423-0844, firstname.lastname@example.org
Christa Hartsook, Communications specialist, (515) 294-4430, email@example.com