CATCH THE BUZZ – USDA Funding: Opportunities Currently Open!

  • Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG) – Deadline: Paper application postmark – July 7, 2015; electronically via – July 2, 2015. Value-added processing and marketing helps farmers and ranchers receive a higher portion of the retail dollar. These grants are open to individual or group applicants in both rural and urban areas to support planning activities, such as developing a business plan, as well as working capital. Grants require a 50% match in funds or in-kind resources.
  • Rural Business Development Grants (RBDG) – Deadline to apply varies by state. These are competitive grants designed to benefit small and emerging businesses in rural areas through targeted technical assistance, training, and other activities. Public entities, cooperatives and nonprofits are eligible to apply.
  • Organic Certification Cost Share Programs – Cost share programs cover a wide range of certification-related expenses and cover 75 percent of the cost of organic certification, up to a maximum of $750 annually. Producers and businesses can apply for reimbursement through their state agencies.
  • Microloans are direct farm operating loans with a shortened application process and reduced paperwork designed to meet the needs of smaller, non-traditional, and niche type operations. The maximum Microloan is $50,000, which may be used for farm equipment, livestock and feed, minor improvements or repairs to buildings, refinance of certain farm-related debts, and other operating expenses.  Find your local FSA office.
  • Rural Cooperative Development Grants (RCDG) – Deadline: Paper application postmark – July 30, 2015; electronically via – July 27, 2015. The primary objective of the RCDG program is to improve the economic condition of rural areas by assisting individuals and businesses in the startup, expansion or operational improvement of rural cooperatives and other mutually-owned businesses through Cooperative Development Centers. Nonprofit corporations and institutions of higher education are eligible to apply for this program. Public bodies, for-profit business, and individuals are not eligible. If you have questions, you can contact your nearest Rural Development Office.