Vilsack Awards $45 Million in Grants to Help Agricultural Producers, Small Rural Businesses

October 31, 2016 – Funding will help beginning, veteran, and socially-disadvantaged farmers and ranchers to expand businesses. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA is providing more than $45 million to help farmers, ranchers, small businesses and entrepreneurs nationwide develop new product lines. USDA is investing in 325 projects through the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program.
“Value-Added Producer Grants are one of USDA’s most sought-after funding sources for veteran and beginning farmers, and rural-based businesses,” Vilsack said. “These grants provide a much-needed source of financing to help producers develop new product lines and increase their income, and keep that income in their communities. Economic development initiatives like this one are working – the unemployment rate in rural America is at an eight-year low and incomes rose 3.4 percent last year. Small business entrepreneurship, which Value-Added Producer Grants support, is a major reason why rural America is a making a comeback.”
VAPG grants can be used to develop new product lines from raw agricultural products or promote additional uses for established products. Veterans, socially-disadvantaged groups, beginning farmers and ranchers, operators of small- and medium-sized family farms and ranches, and farmer and rancher cooperatives are given priority.
Five grants were awarded to Texas based businesses including PPC Farms, LLC, T.T. Winters, Inc., Marfa Maid Dairy, Rio Grande Mesquite, LLC., and Urban Produce, LLC.

“This program enables America’s agriculture producers to expand their product offerings, revenue, and increase economic opportunity by bringing additional value to what they currently produce,” said Paco Valentin, Texas Rural Development State Director.  “We are pleased to offer funding to rural producers whose endeavors will increase the value of agricultural commodities in their communities.”