Farmers and Ranchers Encouraged to Apply for USDA Grants to Increase the Value of Ag ProductsTue, 14 Jun 2016 17:13:24 CDT
Oklahoma agricultural producers are reminded that the deadline is drawing near for the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program. In April, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced that up to $44 million would be made available to farmers, ranchers, and cooperatives to further process, package, or market the raw commodities that they produce.
“This year’s funding for Value-Added Producer Grants is a substantial increase over recent years,” said Ryan McMullen, State Director for USDA Rural Development. “With quality applications from Oklahoma’s farmers and ranchers, we expect to have a significant increase in the number of successful applicants this year.”
McMullen indicated that Oklahoma agricultural producers have a strong track record of successful applications. In recent years Red Rock Premium Beef in Hydro, Oklahoma, used their grant to capture higher returns by equipping their cattle production operation to sell cuts of their high-quality beef at retail prices. Another recent grant awarded to LOMAH Dairy in Wyandotte, Oklahoma, helped them to expand their product line to include non-traditional dairy items such as Skier and Kefir, in addition to traditional dairy items of yogurt and cheese.
Such grants can be used for working capital or to develop feasibility studies, marketing plans or business plans. Priority is given to veterans, members of socially disadvantaged groups, beginning farmers and ranchers, and operators of small- and medium-sized family farms and ranches.
Detailed information about the program can be found by visiting page 20607 of the April 8 Federal Register. The deadline to submit paper applications is July 1, 2016. Electronic applications submitted through grants.gov are due June 24, 2016. Additional information and assistance is available by contacting USDA Rural Development at (405) 742-1061.
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