The U.S. Department of Agriculture will soon be accepting applications for grants to assist agricultural producers seeking to add value to the commodities they produce. Approximately $18 million will be awarded nationwide.
Grants for farmers and ranchers add can be used for planning activities such as feasibility studies, marketing and business plans or for working capital to fund needs like farm equipment, according to USDA.
Recently, the Chef's Garden, in Huron, Ohio, received a $97,500 grant to explore the feasibility of processing and marketing products derived from locally-grown produce. The 40-year-old company has completed market research efforts and is now selecting products to market to consumers.
USDA plans to award planning grants of up to $100,000 and working capital grants of up to $300,000 to successful applicants. Applicants are encouraged to propose projects that use existing agricultural products in non-traditional ways or merge agricultural products with technology in creative ways.
Businesses of all sizes may apply, but priority will be given to operators of small and medium-sized family farms those with average, annual gross sales of less than $700,000. Applicants must provide matching funds equal to the amount of the grant requested.