Value Added Producer Grant
By Shana Hilgerson, Student Assistant for ISU Extension and Outreach Women in Ag
This year, there is nearly $18 million available in competitive grant funds for those interested in implementing value-added processes. These Value Added Producer Grants (VAPG) can be used to fund either the development of marketing and business plans to establish a value-added operation, or to give access to capital in order to help make your value-added operation more competitive at the domestic or international market.
The Agricultural Marketing Resource Center (AgMRC) is a national resource for value-added agriculture. Value-added ag includes anything that is done to enhance the value of a product, from organic practices to physical processing. AgMRC is a great resource for individual producers and processors to find information that aids successful value-added ag enterprises. AgMRC provides aid in evaluating business plans and other critical information needed to build successful enterprises.
“Directly on the homepage, AgMRC provides links to the notice in the Federal Register as well as the next steps that are necessary to get started on the grant application process,” said Ray Hansen, director of the center. “Additional resources for producers to develop their business or to find a new market opportunity for an existing business also are available.”
Links on the AgMRC homepage outline the steps to apply for these grants:
- Apply for DUNS number
- Register in the System Award Management database
- Contact your state’s USDA Rural Development office
- Visit VAPG website for an application guide
All grant applications are due no later than January 31, 2018 to be eligible for the Value Added Producer Grants.
AgMRC has been involved in business development and agriculture processes including, but not limited to; agritourism, livestock, energy, and specialty crops. AgMRC also provides links to state resources that can further aid in your business endeavors.
An example of VAPG success comes from Jolene Pisel, co-owner of JoKir’s Wild Beef in Gilmore City, Iowa. Jolene and her husband, Kirk, are recipients of the Value Added Producer Grant. Kirk has been raising beef cattle for many years, and Jolene had success in retail before deciding to begin her own business endeavor. With the beef market outlook, Jolene and Kirk decided it would be worthwhile to add value to the cattle they were raising by processing their own beef. Through the Value Added Producer Grant, JoKir’s Wild was able to purchase signs, advertising and educational materials, and even equipment to expand their business without going into debt. Jolene advises “do your research and don’t let the process scare you.” With aid from the grant, Jolene was able to take advantage of opportunities she otherwise couldn’t have afforded to create a successful business. Jolene also mentions how helpful her USDA representatives were in the grant process, making the daunting task less frightening, and aiding in the language of their grant application. See more about Jolene's grant process.
For more information on Agriculture Marketing Center Resources, visit their website or the AgMRC Blog. To read more on the Value Added Producer Grants, see this press release by our Value Added Ag team.