$536,000 in Value-Added Ag Grants Available

Applications are due December 11 for assistance in developing value-added agricultural ventures.

Published on: Nov 12, 2007

Do have an idea for a value-added agricultural venture, but could use some help with startup costs? More than $536,000 is available in the state AgriFIRST funds, and grant applications are being accepted by the Illinois Department of Agriculture through Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 5 p.m.

Illinois' Fiscal Year 2008 budget includes more than half a million dollars in incentives to promote "value-added" ag ventures, or projects that turn raw commodities into marketable products and enable farmers to earn a larger share of the consumer dollar.

The program helps defray the start-up costs of qualified projects.

Producers can apply for three types of grants:

  • AgriFIRST technical assistance grants cover up to 75% of the cost of developing a "value-added" project. These funds can help you access the technical expertise you need in order to advance a project. The maximum grant is $25,000.
  • AgriFIRST provides up to 50% of the cost for feasibility studies, competitive assessments or consulting and productivity services. Examples include feasibility studies, the development of business and/or marketing plans or market research as it relates to the development of a new value-added product. A $300,000 limit has been set for these projects.
  • AgriFIRST provides up to 10% of construction costs or capital expenditures. Eligible projects include purchasing land, buildings or equipment.

You can apply for all three types of funding, but must submit separate applications.
Since the program started in 2001, IDOA has provided more than $3.7 million in funding to support more than 90 projects ranging from the development of Illinois-produced, organic soy ingredients to assessing the feasibility of ethanol production facilities and assisting the development of the Illinois wine industry.

For more information, or to obtain an AgriFIRST application, download the form at www.agr.state.il.us, or call the IDOA at 217-782-2172.

The AgriFIRST grant program cannot be used to meet provisions of the Livestock Management Facilities Act, research and development or travel.