AMES, Iowa — The Agricultural Marketing Resource Center is assisting producer groups gathering information to use in applying for USDA Rural Business and Cooperative Service value-added producer grants.
AgMRC provides a virtual library of agriculture value-added opportunities, as well as business development and consulting resources for producers.
“Links to the notice in the Federal Register for these grants, as well as the next steps that are necessary to get started in the grant application process, are available directly on the AgMRC website,” said Ray Hansen, director of the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center. “Additional resources for producers to develop their business or to find a new market opportunity for an existing business also are available.”
Producers can investigate specific commodity information on many different niche opportunities and locate specific laws, consultants and individual contacts within their state to assist them in the grant application process.
“The consultant database available on the website includes specific commodity consultants, business development consultants and those consultants specializing in grant writing,” Hansen said.
RBCS announced the availability of $18 million in competitive grant funds for fiscal year 2017 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:
- 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 Jan. 31, 2018.
Located at Iowa State University, AgMRC is a national center for value-added agriculture resources. For more information, visit www.agmrc.org or call 866-277-5567.