USDA's Value Added Producer Grant application period is now open. See the solicitation information for PA here.
Download the Farmer's Guide to Applying for the 2017 VAP Grant here.
Applying for a federal grant can seem daunting, but is probably nothing like challenges faced in a typical day in the military. It's primarily a question of taking it one step at a time, following the rules & directions, and paying attention to deadlines.
1. Who's the target audience for VAP grants? Agriculture Producers. An individual or entity that produces an Agricultural Commodity through participation in the day-to-day labor, management, and field operations; or that has the legal right to harvest an Agricultural Commodity that is the subject of the VAPG project.
2. What's the purpose of the Value Added Producer Grant program? To help agricultural producers enter into 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 goals of this program
3. Where can I find some examples of successful projects? See a list of the over 300 projects funded in 2016 here.
4. Can you walk us through getting enrolled in SAMS? How long does it take? Sam.gov registration may take up to 7-10 days. Start by obtaining a DUNS Number. Request your DUNS number by calling (866) 705-5711. Tell the operator that you are applying to a Federal financial assistance program and need to register for a DUNS number.
Then, see this page to learn how to register for SAMS.
5. Where can a farmer get help with putting her/his grant together? Staff at your local Rural Development office can meet with you and help discuss eligible application items, but cannot assist with the completion of the application.
If you plan to apply, please begin EARLY. We strongly suggest you plan to get your narrative and budget together well before the holidays, then share it with someone unfamiliar with your project but familiar with grant writing to review it. Time constraints permitting, the PA Veteran Farming Project staff can provide a second pair of eyes for your application or find someone in your county willing to do so. Contact us....early. Did we mention the importance of planning ahead?
5. What are the reporting requirements once I'm funded? USDA requests a project performance report every 6 months to make sure grant recipient is on target with spending the grant funds.
-"Value added ag" in plain language means that the form of the produce is changed to increase its value, such as slaughtering livestock or poultry, or making strawberries into jam.
This program defines a value added product as:
a change in physical state (grapes to wine)
produced in a manner that enhances the value end-product (organic)
locally produced and marketed foods (“locally grown”)
Physical segregation (non-GMO product)
On-Farm Renewable Energy (Anaerobic digester)
-Apps must be in by January 31, 2018; awards in May, pending funding.
-Veterans are a priority applicant category.
-Funding can be used for starting a Value Added program or marketing; apply for planning or operations.
-You must have a DUNS # and be registered in SAMS. This can take a while, so plan ahead and do this early.
-$1-$1 match is required; cash or in-kind
-Amounts up to $75K for planning, $250K for working capital
-Project Period: Up to 36 months
For the 'fine print' on the federal notice, visit this site.