Grants Available for Producers, Groups for Value-Added Products - UNL CropWatch, Aug. 20, 2012

Grants Available for Producers, Groups for Value-Added Products - UNL CropWatch, Aug. 20, 2012

August 20, 2012

Agricultural producers and producer groups with ideas for adding value to their crop or product can apply for a USDA grant to aid with processing and/or marketing of bio-based value-added products.

The UNL Food Processing Center is offering producers help in writing applications for the USDA's Value-Added Producer Grant program.

"We work with producers from around the U.S. to submit grant applications," said Suzanne Weeder Einspahr, food industry consultant with The FPC. "This grant targets ag producers that are looking to generate new products, create and expand marketing opportunities and increase income."

Einspahr said the center has been helping producers with grant applications since 2002, realizing a 100% success rate since 2007.

The grant has two phases. First is a planning grant with seed money that allows producers to explore the feasibility of their idea and create a business plan to demonstrate how the idea can be implemented. The program requires that a third party help carry out the feasibility study, a role the center can play.

"While producers excel at producing raw materials, the move to value-added requires additional considerations. They must carefully look at market opportunities, processing options, staffing requirements, and, most importantly, costs and overall financial feasibility," Einspahr said.

The second phase of the program allows eligible parties to apply for working capital to assist in launching or expanding their value-added venture. Among other things, funds can be used to pay for eligible inventory supplies, salaries, and a marketing campaign directly related to the processing and marketing of the value-added product.

Applicants can seek up to $100,000 in the first phase and $300,000 in the second. The grant does require a one-for-one match.

In 2011 USDA awarded $40.2 million to 298 recipients in 44 states and Puerto Rico. A total of $14 million in grant funds is available this funding cycle.

Grant applications are due Oct. 15. For more information contact Suzanne Weeder Einspahr at 402-472-5806 or sweeder1@unl.edu. Assistance is available for a limited number of producers.

IANR News Release