USDA Awards $1.2 Million to Assist Value-Added Ag in Iowa

Federal grant funds will help 13 new businesses with planning and working capital.

Mark Reisinger, state director of USDA's Rural Development agency in Iowa, on September 18 announced that 13 value-added agriculture businesses in the state are receiving $1.2 million in Value Added Producer Grants through USDA Rural Development for 2007.

"We are very pleased to be assisting these producers in their efforts to add value to the products they produce on their farm," says Reisinger. "These grants will be used for planning to establish a viable value-added marketing opportunity, as well as for working capital to operate a new value-added business."

Since 2001, 115 businesses in Iowa have been awarded more than $20 million in grant funds through this program. Iowa businesses have received close to 15% of the national funding available in Value Added Producer Grants over the six years of the program.

Producers in other states also received grants. USDA Secretary Mike Johanns announced that 162 projects in 40 states and Puerto Rico are receiving $22.7 million in Value Added Producer Grant funds in 2007.

Those receiving grant funds in Iowa this year include:





Absolute Energy

St. Ansgar


Working capital for ethanol plant

Cedar Valley Farms



Examine options for an anaerobic digester or thermochemical biomass conversion system at dairy operation

Central Iowa Soy



Marketing assistance for oil-roasted soybean and sweet corn products






Delaware County Meats



Help launch and market new line of processed pork

East Fork Biodiesel



Assess feasibility of using wind turbines to power biodiesel plant

Grow Your Small Market Steering Committee



Help develop a processing facility for Iowa-grown fruits and vegetables

Hansen’s Farm Fresh Dairy



Assist with production and marketing of non-homogenized ice cream and butter

Heartland BioEnergy

Webster City


Develop business plan and feasibility study for the production of bio-oil generated from cornstalks and roots

Iowa Healthy Edge Meats

West Union


Assist with marketing goat meat to retail stores, restaurants and farmers in the Midwest

Lutes Family Investment Group



Develop a plan for a multiple-turbine wind-generation facility

Natural Milk General Partners



Assess the costs and benefits of different anaerobic digesters for dairy operation

The Iowa Wine Trail



Help develop a marketing campaign

William & Rona Wyant



Help with start-up costs for Fireside Winery.

Grants are available to independent producers, agricultural producer groups, farmer or rancher cooperatives, and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures. Two types of grants are available, planning grants and grants for working capital.

Planning grants can be used for feasibility studies, marketing and/or business plans. Grant funds can be used to pay consultants who guide producers through the development processes. The planning activities must be related to the marketing of a value-added product. Working capital grants can be used by new or existing businesses to pay the operating expenses of new ventures just starting out. If a business venture has been operating for more than a year, it does not qualify for a working capital grant.

Examples of previous grant recipients in Iowa include ethanol plants, biodiesel facilities, large wind farms, wineries, branded meat marketers, as well as pork, specialty soy oil and cheese and milk processors.

"The Value Added Producer Grant program creates jobs and improves the financial returns for producers and farm families across rural Iowa, and rural America," Reisinger said. "I hope producers with interest in starting or expanding their value-added business will give us a call."

Contact USDA Rural Development

You can visit for further information about Value Added Producer Grants. For general information about Rural Development programs please call 515-284-4663, stop by a local Rural Development office or visit

Eleven USDA Rural Development offices in Iowa serve the 1.9 million Iowans living in rural areas. Office locations include a State Office in Des Moines, along with Area Offices in Albia, Atlantic, Humboldt, Indianola, Iowa Falls, LeMars, Mount Pleasant, Storm Lake, Tipton and Waverly.

USDA Rural Development's mission is to deliver quality programs in a way that will support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents. As a venture capital entity, Rural Development provides equity and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in home ownership, business development, and critical community and technology infrastructure.

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