Now is the time to think about Value Added Producer Grants!


The Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) is a competitive grant offered through the USDA Rural Development Office, which can award you up to $100,000 for planning or $300,000 for working capital for value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of bio-based value-added products. Generating new products, creating and expanding marketing opportunities, and increasing producer income are the end goals of this program.

The grant writing offices at EIM want to know if any of the following 4 concept papers appeal to you for a VAPG. One of the 4 will be selected by and for specific organizations for the upcoming grant cycle. Please let us know within the week if you are interested, since the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) should be published any day. We want to be ready to spring into action to serve you as soon as it is announced, so we are providing brief summaries for your feedback. We will soon provide more detailed information, or you may contact us directly.

VAPG CONCEPT 1: Corn Stover for Heating
Corn Stover (cobs and stalks left after harvest) would be the existing product and to add value it would be pelletized in a rented or purchased pelletizer. Pellets would be sold to green houses, poultry or hog producers to be burnt in special furnaces for economical heat. Pelletizing Equipment could be purchased exclusively by your farm or could be shared via a rental agreement with other Family Farm Teams.

Estimated annual Sales from 5,000 acres of corn                                          $ 1,752,000

Anticipated Net Profit                                                                                          $ 1,485,326

Anticipated Gross Margin                                                                                     53%

VApg concept 2: Corn STOVER TO electricity
Corn Stover (cobs and stalks left after harvest) would be the existing product and value would be added via a rented or purchased pelletizer. Pellets would be burnt to produce steam to run an electricity-producing turbine. Burning of the pellets will leave an ash that will contain 100% of the Potassium and Phosphorus of the original corn stover and is proven safe to apply to your fields, so it can be recycled and applied to the fields it came from.

Estimated annual income from 5,000 acres of corn                                      $72,369

Anticipated Gross Margin                                                                                     21%

 VApg concept 3: “Family Farms Table”
This idea is called “Family Farms’ Table” because farm produce is the product and value is added by having the food prepared and sold by a professional to people in the community. This could be done as a summer and fall farmer’s market or as a year-round position for the “chef/manager.” The food could be sweet corn, fruit, garden produce or meat and could be delivered fresh or prepared. Landlords and Team Members could benefit by having healthy, nutritious meals made for them at discounted/ economical prices. A website would allow for easy ordering of the items. A church or other event hall kitchen would be used for food preparation. If a Friday night farmer’s market format is used, the food would be available for pick-up during designated hours. Other formats would involve delivery of the food, which would be frozen or “ready to cook.” If equipment is rented, anticipated capital is not required. If equipment is purchased, anticipated capital would be approximately $100,000.

Estimated annual income assuming 100 clients                                                        $68,964

Anticipated Gross margin                                                                                               28%

VApg concept 4: “Family Farms Fish food”
This idea is called “Family Farms’ Fish Food” because corn and soy beans are the product and value is added by processing the grain to be sold as fish food for catfish, salmon and tilapia farms in the team’s vicinity.

Estimated annual income from sales of 60,000 bushels                                $36,000,000

Anticipated Gross Margin                                                                                      86%

If equipment is leased, anticipated capital is not required. If equipment is purchased, anticipated capital would be approximately $10,000,000.

 How can EIM help you? If you are one of the first ten organization teams to express interest in the chosen concept, EIM will write the grant using the information you provide on a fill-in-the blank form. EIM will waive the normal $5000 fee and charge only $500 since we are working with an organization to provide a group rate. There is also a winner’s fee: 2% of the awarded grant if (and only if) you win the grant.

 How much will it cost in time and money? The farmer must “match” the grant by providing cash or eligible in-kind matching funds, such as time, products, or in-kind donations from the community.

Should you participate?
If one of these concepts fits into the long-range plans for you or a family member, you may want to investigate the idea further. You may receive priority if you are a beginning farmer or rancher, a socially-disadvantaged farmer or rancher, a small or medium-sized farm or ranch structured as a family farm, a farmer or rancher cooperative, or are proposing a mid-tier value chain, as defined in the Program Regulation. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis. There is an estimated $14 million in program funding.

Information for this article was retrieved on October 30, 2013 from website

Bruce and Janet Everly
Energy Improvement Matters (EIM, LLC)
7545 Chablis Circle, Indianapolis, IN 46278
Phone: 317-228-0134; Fax: 866-286-0343

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