A free learning session will be offered for those interested in applying and learning more about the USDA Value Added Producer Grant program. The learning session will be held Oct. 27 at the Jeff and Deb Hansen Agricultural Student Learning Center, Ames, from 1:30-3 p.m. It is sponsored by the USDA Rural Development office, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach and the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center.
Topics include eligibility, resources, grant writing tips and services provided by USDA Rural Development, ISU Extension and Outreach and AgMRC. Value added agriculture producers, producer groups, cooperatives and service providers that serve those populations should plan to attend this learning session.
The USDA Rural Business Cooperative Service 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).
Applications must be completed and submitted no later than Jan. 31, 2018. For more information about the workshop, contact ISU Extension and Outreach program assistant Shannon Hoyle at email@example.com.