USDA Announces $30 Million Available for Food Entrepreneurs and Agricultural Producers to Develop New Products

USDA Announces $30 Million Available for Food Entrepreneurs and Agricultural Producers to Develop New Products

Funding to support beginning, veteran, and socially-disadvantaged farmers and ranchers to expand businesses

WASHINGTON, May 8, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is making $30 million available to farmers, ranchers and food entrepreneurs to develop new product lines. Funding will be made available through the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program.

“Farmers and ranchers are creative people who, with a little help, can put that creativity to work and improve the bottom line for their operations,” Vilsack said. “Value-Added Producer Grants enable them to develop new product lines to grow their businesses and expand their contributions to our nation’s economy. This support is especially important for beginning farmers, military veterans engaging in farming and smaller farm operations participating in the local and regional food system.”

More information on how to apply is on page 26528 of the May 8 Federal Register. The deadline to submit paper applications is July 7. Electronic applications submitted through are due July 2.

VAPG grants can be used to develop new product lines from raw agricultural products or additional uses for already developed product lines. Military veterans, socially disadvantaged, and beginning farmers and ranchers; operators of small- and medium-sized family farms and ranches; farmer and rancher cooperatives; and applicants that propose mid-tier value chain projects are given special priority in applying for VAPGs. Additional priority is given to group applicants who seek funding for projects that “best contribute” to creating or increasing marketing opportunities for these type of operators.

Since 2009, USDA has awarded 853 Value-Added Producer Grants totaling $104.5 million. Approximately 19 percent of the grants and 13 percent of total funding has been awarded to beginning farmers and ranchers. During the 2013-2014 funding cycle, nearly half of VAPG awards went to farmers and ranchers developing products for the local food sector. Value-Added Producer Grants are a key element of the USDA’s Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative, which coordinates the Department’s work on local and regional food systems. Secretary Vilsack has identified local and regional food systems as one of the four pillars of rural economic development.

Congress increased funding for the VAPG program when it passed the 2014 Farm Bill. That law builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers.

Since the bill’s enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including expanding access to rural credit, developing new markets for rural-made products, and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve the quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit

President Obama’s historic investments in rural America have made our rural communities stronger. Under his leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities..

Hands on workshop on how to assemble a high tunnel with Able Farms and OBC Northwest

May 9th from 9 am until 3 pm

Hands on workshop on how to assemble a high tunnel with Able Farms and OBC Northwest Representatives. Learn about high tunnels types, construction, and various purposes. Bring a dish to share, water, and a wireless drill if you have one.

Please RSVP to and dress appropriately. Directions will be given once you RSVP. An Able Farms coffee blend will be provided by Trailhead Coffee Roasters, so bring your mugs. Lunch is at noon!

Third Thursday DCCFW Food Film Festival, April 16, 7:30 pm, Botany of Desire

The Dairy Creek Community Food Web will show Botany of Desire, based on Michael Pollan’s best selling book. The film explores the natural history and cultivation of four plants: the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato. It holds fascinating stories of apple seed diversity and hard cider,how the tulip created a wild economic bubble in Holland, behind the scenes of medical marijuana, and scary GM potatoes. Please spread the word, join us, and bring a friend!
Location: Forest Grove Grange, 1917 B St.

Mon April 13 + 20 – Soil Health Workshops for Agriculture, Wash. County

Soil Health Workshops for Agriculture, Washington County
Fact: One inch of good quality topsoil takes 500 years to produce. Join us to learn more about how to improve our most valuable resource – the soil beneath our feet! Each workshop will include presentations on what soil health is and how to improve it, as well as hands-on demos in the field. You will take home a free textbook on soil health and enjoy a free lunch, provided by our sponsors Recology Inc. and Soil Test Consultants. The workshops are free, but registration is required.  Register online at:

Monday April 13th 9am-1pm Behrman Farm, 32755 SW Johnson School Rd, Cornelius Agricultural Soil Health Workshops Focus on Larger Farms,Conventional Systems, and Perennial Crops with Cory Owens, NRCS State Soil Health Coordinator

Monday April 20th 9am-1pm Swallowtail School & Farm, 332 NE 6th  Avenue, Hillsboro Focus on Small Farms, Organic Operations and Annual Crops with Nick Andrews, OSU Extension Small Farms Program

You can also email or call Jen: 503-648-3174 x121
If you are a Washington County resident, we would like your feedback on natural resource concerns. Please take a moment before April 16, 2015, to take our online survey:

We also appreciate your help sharing this survey link with other Washington County residents. Thank-you!
Jen Nelson
Outreach,Volunteer and Education (OVE) Program Manager
Tualatin Soil and Water Conservation District
1080 SW Baseline Suite B-2
Hillsboro, Oregon  97123
503-648-3174 x 121
Cell 423-298-6986
Facebook /tualatinswcd
Twitter @tswcd
Google +SwcdNet


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