USDA Value-Added Producer Grants deadline extended
Washington, DC, March 25, 2014 – Today the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development agency announced a two week extension for grant applications for the Value-Added Producer Grant program. The extension, published in today’s Federal Register, was made necessary by changes to the program included in the 2014 Farm Bill that was recently signed into law. The new grant deadline is April 8.
To help farmers, farm groups, and farm coops understand the program and the current funding cycle, NSAC today re-issued its Farmers’ Guide to Value-Added Producer Grant Funding. The updated Guide provides helpful hints to improve a producer’s chances of obtaining funding from the highly competitive program and provides clear information on the program’s application requirements, including a step-by-step description of the application and ranking processes.
The Guide is available for free on NSAC’s publications page: http://sustainableagriculture.net/publications/.
The two week extension will allow groups who have already submitted funding applications to revise their proposals if the new farm bill’s addition of returning veteran farmers to the program’s priorities is applicable to their proposal.
The other program priorities include small and medium-scale family farms, beginning farmers and ranchers, and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
“We urge everyone who submitted a VAPG application to make a determination in the coming days as to whether their proposals need to be modified or not,” said Hoefner. “As part of the new farm bill, Congress added a veteran’s preference to a variety of programs, including VAPG, and applicants whose project includes returning veterans will want to highlight that aspect of their project.”
In addition to adding returning veteran farmers to the priority categories, the 2014 Farm Bill also clarifies that group projects that include more than a single farmer are to be ranked in terms of how well they advance the program’s priorities by the review panels that evaluate all of the proposed projects. USDA will also be implementing this change as part of the current funding round. F
–National Sustainable Ag Coalition