USDA has announced that 25 million dollars is available in grants for the development of agricultural producer-owned processing businesses.
The new Value-Added Agricultural Product Market Development Grants Program is designed to encourage producers of agricultural commodities to process their raw products into final, marketable goods.
To assist producer associations to establish value-added business ventures, $20 million will be allocated. The remaining $5 million will be awarded to establish a pilot project known as the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center.
Grants will be awarded to conduct feasibility analysis, develop business and marketing plans, or use as working capital while the venture develops cash flow. Grants cannot be used for the development or acquisition of buildings or other facilities, or to purchase, rent or install fixed equipment. The maximum allowable grant amount is $500,000, and grant recipients must provide one-to-one matching funds.
Grant applications will be accepted in two rounds. Applications for the first round must be received by April 23, 2001, and the second round by June 27, 2001.