Extension News

Agricultural Marketing Resource Center Assists Producers in Applying for USDA Value-added Grants

5/6/2009

AMES, Iowa -- The Agricultural Marketing Resource Center (AgMRC) is assisting producer groups in gathering information for use in applying for the USDA Rural Business and Cooperative Service (RBCS) value-added producer grants, announced in the Federal Register May 6, 2009.

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, grant templates and a directory of consultants and service providers,” said Ray Hansen, 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.”

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 $18 million in competitive grant funds for fiscal year 2009 to help independent agricultural producers enter into value-added activities. The grant will fund one of the following two activities:

  1.  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
  2. 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:

  1. A change in the physical state or form of the product (such as milling wheat into flour or making strawberries into jam); 
  2. The production of a product in a manner that enhances its value, as  demonstrated through a business plan (such as organically produced products);
  3. 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 July 6, 2009.

Located at Iowa State University (ISU), AgMRC is a national center for value-added agriculture resources. For more information, visit www.agmrc.org or call toll-free at 866-277-5567.

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Contacts :
Ray Hansen, Co-director, Ag Marketing Resource Center, (515) 294-3890
Mary Holz-Clause, Co-director, Ag Marketing Resource Center, (515) 294-0648
Don Hofstrand, Co-director, Ag Marketing Resource Center, (641) 423-0844
Christa Hartsook, Communications Specialist, (515) 294-4430