Grant program aimed at value-added agriculture ventures

BISMARCK – Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring is encouraging farmers and ranchers to look into a new, federal program to help them develop value-added enterprises that use agricultural products.

“USDA's Value-Added Producer Grant Program provides grants of up to $100,000 for economic planning activities and up to $300,000 for working capital,” Goehring said. “Recipients can use the money for feasibility studies, developing business plans for processing costs, marketing and advertising expenses, and some inventory and salary expenses.”

Grants cannot be used to buy property or equipment or to build facilities.

Goehring said eligible applicants include independent producers, agricultural producer groups, farmer or rancher cooperatives and majority-controlled, producer-based business ventures.

Last year, two North Dakota entities, Bowdon Meat Processing and Dakota Pride Cooperative, each received $49,500 grants through the program.

Goehring said interested persons should contact their area office of USDA Rural Development to more about the program, including eligibility requirements, required documents and the application process.   More information about the program is also available at www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_VAPG.html.

The deadline for applications if Oct. 15.