Help For Farmers Applying For Value-Added Grants

Help For Farmers Applying For Value-Added Grants

Workshop in Des Moines on September 6 can assist Iowans with applications for USDA's Value Added Producer Grant Program.

The Drake Law Center in Des Moines is hosting a free workshop on Thursday, September 6, 2012 to help producers who are looking to enhance the bottom line of their business and improve the value of their products. Workshop attendees will learn about the application process for USDA Rural Development's Value Added Producer Grant, or VAPG program.

This year the program is making available up to $14 million nationwide to help producers with value-added opportunities. The application deadline for this year's VAPG program is October 15, 2012.

Program aims to help producers capture value-added ag opportunities

USDA recently announced the availability of $14 million in competitive grant funds to help independent agricultural producers to enter into value-added farming activities. Application deadline is October 15.

The grants, which are competitively awarded, are available for planning activities or for working capital expenses, but not for both. The maximum grant amount is $100,000 for planning grants and $300,000 for working capital grants. Generating new products, creating and expanding marketing opportunities and increasing producer income are the goals of the VAPG program.

Workshop registration begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Drake Legal Clinic, Drake University, located at 24th Street and University Avenue in Des Moines. No pre-registration is required.

USDA Rural Development's funding continues to have a dramatic impact on rural communities across Iowa. Since 2009, USDA Rural Development has invested nearly $2 billion on essential public facilities, small and emerging businesses, water and sewer systems and housing opportunities for Iowa families.

Half of Iowa's rural communities today have fewer than 500 residents

Today, more than 1.7 million Iowans live in rural communities and areas of the state, and nearly half of the state's communities have fewer than 500 residents.

"USDA Rural Development is working with rural communities to create jobs, expand opportunity, encourage innovation and build a strong foundation for the future," says Bill Menner, state director of USDA Rural Development in Iowa. "Our agency currently administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility loan and grant programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents and farmers and improve the quality of life in rural America."

Value-added workshop for interested Iowans will be at Drake Legal Clinic

The September 6 value-added producer grant workshop begins at 9:30 a.m. with registration and will go from 10 a.m. until 12 noon, says Menner and will be held at the Drake Law Center.

This past year USDA Rural Development's investment in Iowa helped create or retain more than 1,900 jobs, aided 2,000 families in buying their own homes and assisted more than 80 communities as they made improvements to their facilities, services and infrastructure. USDA Rural Development has 11 offices across the state to serve the 1.7 million Iowans living in rural communities and areas.  Office locations include a state office in Des Moines, along with area offices in Albia, Atlantic, Humboldt, Indianola, Iowa Falls, Le Mars, Mount Pleasant, Storm Lake, Tipton and Waverly.

Further information on programs available through USDA Rural Development is available by calling 515-284-4663 or by visiting the agency's website at www.rurdev.usda.gov/ia.

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