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Value-Added, USDA Rural Development
USDA Rural Development’s mission is to deliver programs in a way that will support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents. As a venture capital entity, Rural Development provides equity and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technology infrastructure. Further information on rural programs is available at the New Jersey Rural Development office (856) 787-7754.

Value-Added Producer Grants: Competitive grant funds are available to help independent agricultural producers enter into value-added activities.  The grants will be awarded to fund one of the following:  (1) planning activities, such as developing feasibility studies, operations or marketing plans; or (2) for working capital expenses, such as fund starup operations, finance inventories.  Paper applications may be submitted to: USDA Rural Development, 8000 Midlantic Drive, Suite 500 N, Mt. Laurel, NJ  08054.  Electronic applications must be submitted through the Grants.gov website: www.grants.gov

Click here for more information on the 2014 Value-Added Grant Program.

Applicants should contact the USDA Rural Development State Office in advance to discuss their projects and ask questions.    

Planning grants are planning activities such as conducting feasibility studies and developing business and marketing plans for the marketing of a value-added agricultural product. The planning application needs to spell out the nature of the proposed venture, qualifications of those doing the studies, project leadership, commitment, work plan/budget, amount of grant funds requested, and project cost per producer that are owners.

Working Capital grants are to operate a venture and pay the normal expenses associated with producing a value-added product. Funds cannot be used to purchase or build facilities nor to purchase or install processing equipment.
 
Value-Added Tools for Ag Producers
Farmers raising unique or organic crops can use an interactive website through the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center (AgMRC) for creating or expanding their value-added agriculture businesses.Through the site, growers will be able to better assimilate information on their products for attracting buyers. It will feature an online tutorial to aid farmers and ranchers in understanding how to produce food under international quality control systems. The main AgMRC website also provides an extensive directory of resources, such as consultants and state contacts, to aid farmers.
www.AgMRC.org