Money Available For New Farmers

There is still time to apply for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program. There is $37 million available for this round and 10 percent of that is reserved specifically for beginning farmers and ranchers.The deadline to apply is August 29, 2011.

"Farmers or ranchers needing planning or working capital funds to move their value-added ideas forward should check out the Value-Added Producer Grants program," said Traci Bruckner, Assistant Director of Policy at the Center for Rural Affairs.

"The 2008 Farm Bill made some important changes to the Value Added Producer Grants Program by giving a priority to projects from beginning, small and mid-size family farmers and ranchers," added Bruckner. "Value-added, niche markets are one of the best strategies for creating and maintaining profitability for these family farmers and ranchers. Those applicants that meet the beginning, small or mid-size family farm or ranch criteria will automatically get 10 points out of a total of 100, a significant bonus in this competitive grant process."

Agricultural producers, businesses majority-owned by agricultural producers, and organizations representing agricultural producers are eligible to apply for Value Added Producer Grants for business planning or working capital expenses associated with marketing value-added agricultural products. Agricultural producers include farmers, ranchers, loggers, agricultural harvesters and fishermen that engage in the production or harvesting of an agricultural commodity.

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