Workshop guides farmers through grant process

  • Monday, September 10, 2012

    Farmers learn grant processWorkshop designed to guide farmers through grant process   

    PRINCESS ANNE, MD - (August 23, 2012) - A free workshop that promises to make the way clear for potential value-added producer grant (VAPG) applicants is set for Saturday, September 15, from 10 a.m. to noon in the Center for Food Science and Technology, Room 1102, on the UMES campus. 

    Grant amounts up to $100,000 for planning and $300,000 for working capital will be awarded to successful applicants from a $14 million pot of money reserved by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).  The funding is earmarked to help agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of bio-based value-added products.  

    The University of Maryland Extension Small Farm Outreach Program is partnering with the Maryland Agricultural & Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation (MARBIDCO) and USDA's Rural Development to provide guidance for farmers who are interested in applying.  This is the last time that the VAPG will be offered for the current Farm Bill, and the only time applications will be taken this federal fiscal year.  Bruce Weaver, USDA Rural Development specialist and state energy coordinator, will offer helpful information and details about the grant application process.  Stephen McHenry, executive director of MARBIDCO, will explain the corporation's loan products and grant programs that can help supplement the VAPG. 

    Applicants who qualify as beginning farmers or ranchers, socially-disadvantaged farmers or ranchers, a small or medium-sized farm or ranch structured as a family farm, a farmer or rancher cooperative, or anyone who is proposing a mid-tier value chain may receive priority. The VAPG application deadline is Monday, October 15, so applicants need to act quickly.

    For more information or to register for the Value-Added Grant Process Workshop at UMES, visit www.umes.edu/1890-mce or call Michael Sigrist at 410-651-8353 or Kayla Parmar at 410-651-6070.  Registration is required, and the registration deadline is Wednesday, September 12.               

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    Suzanne Waters Street, agriculture communication specialist, UMES - University of Maryland Extension, 410-651-6084, sstreet@umes.edu.