Transform Your Farm Products and Boost Revenue with a VAPG

It’s that time of the year again: taxes are due, seedlings are almost ready for planting, goat kids are being born, and USDA just dropped its Notice of Solicitation of Applications for Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPGs).

For our readers not familiar with VAPGs, they are an excellent way for farms to boost their capital. These grants open doors for new projects by providing farm-businesses with the funds to expand their current markets or enter into new ones, thereby increasing financial returns going forward. For example, Farmer Abby might currently sell their greens wholesale to a local co-op. But with a VAPG, they can expand their production and turn their greens into grab-and-go salads, opening up an entirely new revenue stream.

In the agriculture world, the term “value-added” simply implies transforming a raw agricultural product into something else. This could be through packaging, processing, cooling, drying, extraction, or any other type of process that differentiates the new product from the original raw product. Charcuterie always comes to mind, along with pickles, parmesan, and pesto. More specifically, value-adding can mean turning cucumbers into pickles, cow’s milk into cheese, wheat into flour, sap into syrup, corn into fuel, and so on.   

There is a lot more to the VAPG program and value-added products, so if you’d like to learn more, start here. Know a farmer applying? Maybe you could help them by providing a letter of support, so reach out!

The VAPG is an incredibly competitive grant, and it usually takes a team of people to craft a proposal that will surely be close to 100 pages long, if not longer. Applicants typically spend a minimum of 100 hours to complete their proposal. Bust out the coffee!

This year, the total amount of award funding is lower compared to 2021, making the grant that much more competitive. But don’t stress too much yet. We have once again teamed up with Jim Gage of JDG Consulting to guide farmers in writing one of these beastly grant proposals. Check out our VAPG blog series, 10-person boot camp, and other resources on our VAPG Resources landing page. Jim has 15 years of VAPG writing under his belt—and all 70 applications he’s worked on have been funded!
 
Unfortunately, the April 25 deadline to submit an online application is less than 40 days away, while the May 2 deadline for paper applications sent via snail mail is under 50 days away. To get you started and heading toward success, check out our 2021 VAPG webinar, chockfull of tips still relevant for this year.

Also, tomorrow the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is hosting a webinar with folks from the USDA to help prospective applicants learn more about the program, no registration required:

March 18 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Eastern

  • Join on your computer or Microsoft Teams mobile app: CLICK HERE TO JOIN!
  • Or call in (audio only) at +1 202-650-0123
  • Phone Conference ID: 382 510 478# 


Farming is a labor of love, but grant writing is another realm… Best of luck to those writing a proposal!


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