The Agricultural Marketing Resource Center at Iowa State University provides producer groups with information for use in applying for the USDA Rural Business and Cooperative Service value-added producer grants. The latest round of grants available were announced in the Federal Register August 15, 2012.
AgMRC is a virtual library of agricultural value-added opportunities, business development and consulting resources for producers, located at www.agmrc.org.
"There is a direct link on the home page of the site to take producers directly to the federal notice of funding available, grant templates and a directory of state USDA rural development offices," says Ray Hansen, director of the center. "Additional resources for producers to develop their business or to find a new market opportunity for an existing business are also available."
Producers can investigate specific commodity information on many different niche opportunities and can locate specific laws, consultants and individual contacts within their individual state to assist them in the grant application process. "The consultant database available on the website includes specific commodity consultants, business development consultants and those consultants specializing in grant writing," Hansen says.
Applications must be completed and submitted no later than Oct. 15, 2012
USDA announced the availability of $14 million in competitive grant funds for fiscal year 2013 to help independent agricultural producers enter into value-added activities. The grant will fund one of the following two activities:
* Developing feasibility studies or business plans (including marketing plans or other planning activities) needed to establish a viable value-added marketing opportunity for an agricultural product
* Acquiring working capital to operate a value-added business venture or an alliance that will allow the producers to better compete in domestic and international markets
Value-added products are defined as: 1) a change in the physical state or form of the product (such as milling wheat into flour or making strawberries into jam); 2) the production of a product in a manner that enhances its value, as demonstrated through a business plan (such as organically produced products); 3) and the physical segregation of an agricultural commodity or product in a manner that results in the enhancement of the value of that commodity or product (such as an identity preserved marketing system).
Value-added also includes using any agricultural product or commodity to produce renewable energy on a farm or ranch. Applications must be completed and submitted no later than Oct. 15, 2012. Located at Iowa State University, AgMRC is a national center for value-added agriculture resources. For more information, visit www.agmrc.org or call toll-free at 866-277-5567.