USDA opens Value-Added Production Grant funding opportunity

By Erin Voegele | April 26, 2016

The USDA is making up to $44 million available to farmers, ranchers and businesses through its Value-Added Producer Grant program. On-farm anaerobic digestion (AD) systems are among the projects eligible for the program.

Value-Added Producer Grants may be used to develop new products and create additional uses for existing ones. Priority for these grants is given to veterans, members of socially disadvantaged groups, beginning farmers and ranchers, and operators of small- and medium-sized family farms and ranches. Additional priority is given to applicants who seek funding for projects that will create or increase marketing opportunities for these types of operators.

"America's farmers, ranchers and rural business owners are innovative entrepreneurs and this program helps them grow economic opportunities for their families and communities by increasing the value of the items they produce," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "The Value-Added Producer Grant program has a great track record of helping producers increase the value of products and expand their markets and customer base, strengthening rural America in the process."

Regarding AD projects, information published by the USDA explains that grant funds are available for economic planning activities or for working capital expenses related to the processing and/or marketing of valued-added products that result from new or existing digester projects, subject to program limitations. New digester proposals may include renewable energy generation components as well as post-digestion components as value-added projects, while proposals for existing digesters may include post-digestion components only. Additional information on AD project eligibility is available on the USDA website.   

Electronic applications for this round of funding are due June 24. Paper applications must be submitted by July 1. Additional information on the funding opportunity and application process is available on the Federal Register website