The Agricultural Law Center at Drake University in Des Moines is hosting a workshop July 20 for farmers, businesses owners, and those who serve them such as accountants, lawyers, and consultants. The workshop will focus on USDA's Value Added Producer Grant program. USDA Rural Development staff will be on hand to present information about this recently announced new round of funding and to answer questions.
Staff from Iowa Microloan will also be presenting information about a loan program that can help applicants fill in some of the gaps not covered by the VAPG program. There is no charge for the workshop and participants do not need to register in advance.
Applications for USDA Value-Added Ag grants are due by August 29
USDA recently announced the availability of $37 million for planning grants and working capital grants. Applications are due to USDA by August 29 and it's estimated about 250 projects will be funded.
"Iowans have always been very competitive in this grant program," says Neil Hamilton, professor of law and director of the Agriculture Law Center at Drake University in Des Moines. "The Center is hosting this workshop to encourage Iowans to prepare and submit grant applications to compete for these resources."
"In the last round of funding, thirteen Iowa farms were awarded grants including Juan O'Sullivan's Salsa Company and Frisian Farms artisan cheese makers. Both of these enterprises are members of the Greater Des Moines "Buy Fresh Buy Local" campaign," says Matt Russell, state food policy project coordinator at the Drake Agricultural Law Center.
These grant funds can help with development of local food systems
"This grant program can help with development of local foods systems and can spur the economy by supporting local producers," says Bill Menner, USDA Rural Development agency's state director in Iowa. "I encourage producers interested in starting or expanding their value-added business to attend this work shop or give our agency a call." Menner will provide closing remarks to the workshop.
Grants may be used for planning activities and for working capital for marketing value-added agricultural products and for farm-based renewable energy. Applicants eligible to apply include independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives, agricultural producer groups, and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures.
The Value Added Producer Grant workshop will be hosted by the Drake Ag Law Center on Monday July 18 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. at Drake Legal Clinic, located at 24th and University Avenue in Des Moines.
Helpful links for more information: The USDA Rural Development website provides the Notice of Funds Available and additional information for applicants.
If you have additional questions or need more information contact Matt Russell at 515-271-4956 or email [email protected]