USDA to Hold Value-Added Producer Grant Meetings

Information meetings will be held Nov. 17 at Chariton and Decatur City.

USDA's Rural Development agency will hold informational meetings about its Value-Added Producer Grant program on November 17 at the Chariton Public Library in Chariton, Iowa from 2-4 p.m. and the Barnum Community Center in Decatur City, Iowa from 7-9 p.m.

The informational meetings are co-sponsored by the South Central Iowa Area Partnership and will include information about available grant amounts, eligible applicants, eligible projects and eligible use of funds. The meetings will also include presentations by Denny Harding of Iowa Farm Bureau; Dave McLaren of South Central Iowa SBDC; Bryan Ziegler of Indian Hills SBDC; and Glen Easter of Clarke County Extension.

VAPG informational meetings Monday Nov. 17

* What: USDA Rural Development Value-Added Producer Grant informational meetings
* Where: Chariton Public Library - 803 Braden St. Chariton;
Barnum Community Center- 302 NE 4th St. Decatur City.
* When: Monday, November 17; Chariton 2-4 p.m.; Decatur City 7-9 p.m.

Registration is free. To register call 641-782-1449 or e-mail [email protected]
"We are very pleased to be assisting producers in their efforts to add value to the products they produce on their farm," says Mark Reisinger, USDA Rural Development state director in Iowa. "These grants can 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, 120 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 seven years of the program.

Who is eligible to get these grants?

Grants are available to independent producers, ag 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.

Contact USDA Rural Development

"The Value-Added Producer Grant program creates jobs and improves the financial returns for producers and farm families across rural Iowa, and rural America," says Reisinger. "I hope producers with interest in starting or expanding their value-added business will make plans to attend."

Please visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/coops/vadg.htm 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 www.rurdev.usda.gov/ia.

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, Le Mars, 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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