NSAC's Blog

NSAC Guide Helps Farmers Navigate Value-Added Grant Application

April 14, 2016

VAPG Guide Cover

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has released an updated version of its annual Farmers’ Guide to Applying for the Value-Added Producer Grant Program, a unique resource that walks farmers through the program’s application requirements, including a step-by-step description of the application and ranking processes.

Recognizing that applying for federal grants can be challenging, even for professional grant-writers, NSAC has been issuing updated versions of their Farmers’ Guide for the last four years.

First released in 2012, the Farmers’ Guide is available as a free resource, downloadable online via the NSAC website and has been updated to correspond with the April announcement that up to $44 million in funding will be available for fiscal year (FY) 2016. The guide provides a snapshot of everything farmers and potential applicants might want to know about VAPG, including: project eligibility and examples of previously awarded projects, proposal types and requirements, an application scoring outline, program history, and an application timeline and checklist.

Administered by USDA Rural Development, VAPG provides competitive grants to help farmers and ranchers take their businesses to the next level by transforming raw goods into higher-value processed products like flour, cheese, or sauces/spreads, by innovative marketing of inherently higher value products like organic or grass-fed, or by linking through food hubs or other supply chain networks to local and regional food markets.

The grants can be used for working capital, feasibility studies, business plans, and marketing efforts. Up to $75,000 is available for planning grants and up to $250,000 is available for implementation grants.

The deadline to submit paper applications for VAPG is July 1, while electronic applications are due June 24 through grants.gov.

NSAC and the USDA partnered on a webinar for prospective applicants on May 8, a recording of that webinar can be found here. 

Potential Applicants can learn more about the program by visiting NSAC’s Grassroots Guide to the Farm Bill page on the VAPG program. In addition to NSAC’s resources, more information, including application details, is available on the USDA VAPG webpage.


Categories: Grants and Programs, Local & Regional Food Systems, Rural Development

2 responses to “NSAC Guide Helps Farmers Navigate Value-Added Grant Application”

  1. Shane Welch says:

    I am want to purchase 18 acres for a future berry farm

  2. grassrootsintern says:

    Hi Shane,
    Thanks for reaching out to NSAC with your question. I encourage you to look at our Grassroots Guide to Federal Farm and Food Programs for more information about USDA programs that can assist you as you start farming. If you are interested in purchasing land, I would specifically look at Microloans, Down Payment Loans, and the Land Contract Guarantee Program.
    You may also want to get in touch with your local USDA Service Center which you can find on this website.
    If you have specific questions about other opportunities for technical and financial assistance, please send an email to info@sustainableagriculture.net. We are happy to help!