Value-Added Producer Grants

What Are They?

The USDA’s Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program offers funding to help create or expand production and marketing opportunities and increase your income. Rather than selling agricultural goods for low commodity prices, the USDA wants more producers to turn them into value-added products and keep the revenues on the farm.

When producers take raw agricultural products (e.g., vegetables, grains, milk) and turn them into something with greater value (e.g., jam, bread, or cheese) they not only increase income, but also contribute to community economic development for residents and consumers.

The ultimate goals of this program are to generate new products, create and expand marketing opportunities, increase producer income, and contribute to rural economic development.

VAPGs provide agricultural producers funds either (a) to research and produce a business and/or marketing plan for turning existing commodities into value-added products, or (b) for working capital in the early stages of a new production and/or marketing venture.

What Value-Added Products are Eligible?

These value-added products aren’t always strictly food products. You could add value to your commodity through identity preservation, converting to organically-certified or non-GMO growing methods, expanding a local or regional market for your traceable product, generating renewable fuels with grain and biomass, etc.

Beyond food products, these value-added products can include:

  • Identity-preserved, non-GMO grain
  • Malted barley
  • Local produce grown in an aquaponics facility
  • Renewable Natural Gas generated from biomass in an anaerobic digester

How much Can I Win?

  • Planning Grant Amounts: 50/50 match up to $75,000
  • Working Capital Grant Amounts: 50/50 match up to $250,000

When Are Applications due?

The application deadline for next year has not yet been announced, but call us now at 317-228-0134 to discuss your idea. Just tell us you’re interested in a Value-Added Producer Grant and give us some information about your project to see if it’s a good fit for the VAPG program.

Priority Applicants

Each year, the USDA sets aside a portion of funding in the VAPG program to be awarded to any priority applicants before returning to the general funding pool. Belonging to one of these groups greatly increases your likelihood of receiving funding, so don’t hesitate to call and talk with us about any project ideas you have.

These priority applicants include:

  • Beginning farmers or ranchers (<10 years)
  • Socially-disadvantaged farmers or ranchers
  • Farmer or rancher cooperatives
  • Applicants proposing a mid-tier value chain

*For more information about who fits into the groups above, call us or see the program regulations.

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