September 5, 2003
$27.7 Million Available in Competitive Grant Funds
The Rural Business-Cooperative Service announced the availability of $27.7 million in competitive grant funds for fiscal year 2003 to help independent agricultural producers enter into value-added activities. The primary objective of this grant program is to help eligible participants develop business plans for viable marketing opportunities.
Proposals may be submitted by eligible independent producers, agricultural producer groups, farmer or rancher cooperatives and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures. The competitively awarded grants may fund one of the following two activities:
1. development of feasibility studies or business plans to establish a viable value-added marketing opportunity for an agricultural product or
2. to acquire working capital to operate a value-added business venture or an alliance that will allow the producer to better compete in domestic and international markets.
A value-added product is defined as: a change in the physical state or form of the product; the production of a product in a manner that enhances its value; or the physical segregation of an agricultural commodity or product in a manner that results in the enhancement of the value of that commodity or product.
The maximum award per grant is $500,000 with smaller grant requests receiving priority points in order to maximize the distribution of program benefits. This program has a matching funds requirement where applicants must provide matching funds at least equal to the grant.
To review the Federal Register with the complete program details, go to: http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/14mar20010800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2003/03-22506.htm
Applications must be submitted to the appropriate State USDA Rural Development office no later than 4:00 p.m. on Oct. 4, 2003.
Staff contact: Peter Orwick, ext. 33