Value-Added Producer Grant
- The USDA-VAPG contact person for Wisconsin is Mike Daniels: 715-345-7615 Ext 155 ; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Before you get too far into it, talk to Mike and make sure your idea meets the program’s requirements.
Some basics about VAPG
- The Notice of Solicitation of Applications (NOSA) is released at varying times each year. Proposals are generally due 60 days after the NOSA has been released. due to the complexity of the application, it is highly recommended that you begin work on your application before the release of the current NOSA.
- Proposals will need to be submitted via Grants.gov. Be sure to register at grants.gov ahead of time to avoid trouble with your electronic submission; you may need several weeks of lead time if you need to apply for a DUNS number. It is a good idea to submit your application a few days ahead of the due date to avoid congestion on the Grants.gov server.
- Be sure to carefully review the Notice of Soliciation for Applications for information about program requirements.
- This program enables eligible agricultural producers to develop businesses that produce and market value-added agricultural products.
- Applicants must be an independent producer, agricultural producer group, farmer or rancher cooperative, or a majority-controlled producer-based business.
- 1-to-1 matching funds are required.
- The maximum amount is $100,000 for Planning Grants and $300,000 for Working Capital Grants.
- The 2009 NOSA “highlights the inclusion of Beginning and Socially Disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, as well as operators of Small and Medium-sized farms or ranches that are structured as a Family Farm” and reserves funds for ” Mid-Tier Value Chain projects.”
Several workshops are offered each fall to help farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs develop strategies to access state and federal grants. Attendees learn how to successfully submit a Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG), an Agricultural Development and Diversification Grant (ADD), and The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program application. These programs provide research and development, planning and working capital funds to farmers and farmer-based enterprises to develop and implement ventures.
The materials from past trainings are posted below.
- Workshop poster and agenda
- Overview of USDA Value Added Producer Grants Program, by Barbara Brewster, USDA
- Scoring Criterion, by Carl Rainey, DATCP
- Developing a Successful VAPG Application: Selected Ideas and Elements, byJim Gage, DBIC
VAPG Eligibility and Application Requirements
- Application Requirements: the USDA website has all the required application components as well as explanations and templates.
- Are you eligible?: this link is to the USDA’s on-line eligibility questionnaire that will help you decide.
Reviewing past awards is a great way to get a sense of the types of projects this program is interested in funding. Below is a list of the 2006 VAPG Award Winners.
- This excellent summary report came out in September 2005. It includes a breakout of the funding year-to-year, the percentage of proposals funded each year, and by commodity, and other information.
Writing a Proposal
- NEBRASKA Templates: the Food Processing Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln modified the USDA templates and added more tips, examples, and organized everything very well. Take a look and see if these can be useful.
- Hire a Grant Writer or Do-It-Yourself?
One of the first decisions you need to make is whether to write your proposal entirely on your own, or to seek outside assistance.
Some questions to consider are:
- Do I have the time to write the grant application?
- Do I have the grant writing experience necessary to write a successful grant?
- Am I a detail-oriented person who can write a complete grant application?
If the answer is “no” to any of these questions, you may want to consider hiring a professional grant writer to work with you on completing the grant application on time.
What to Consider When Hiring a Grant Writer
- Ask for a resume that includes a description of their past grant writing work.
- Ask for and check their references.
- Ask if they have worked on VAPG proposals in the past. If they have, have those proposals been funded? If not, why not?
- Ask how many other proposals they are working on while working on yours (do they have the time to spend on your proposal?)
- Ask if they have worked with agricultural or rural businesses before.
Tips and Pitfalls in Submitting a VAPG Proposal
When you hire a grant writer it is important to remember that you will need to take the time to work with them to complete the application. You are the best source of information on your business and your business plan. Working successfully with a grant writer will require that you invest time in the process to have the best application possible.
- You will need to work with the grant writer to have all the necessary financial statements in order for the application. Determine how the financial forms will be completed early on in the process as this can take time.
- Leave time to review the grant writer’s work.
- Pay attention to the VAPG application check-list. You must turn in all required documents and forms for your application to be considered.
- Not planning the time needed to work with the grant writer. Remember it is a cooperative process.
- Incomplete applications. You must review the check-list to determine if all the forms and documents are submitted. Don’t leave this to the last minute.
A list of Grant Writing Consultants
The following people have expressed interest in providing assistance with VAPG proposals. The AIC and our partners do not “endorse” these writers. It is the responsibility of the VAPG applicants to screen any consultants they may hire. We must emphasize that successful grant applications typically require significant involvement from the applicant.
|Barber, Rick||Minneapolis, MNemail@example.com||952-546-5326|
|Birmingham, Deirdre||Mineral Point, WIfirstname.lastname@example.org||608-967-2362|
|Brusoe, Diane||Madison, WIemail@example.com||608-256-1213|
|Buckta, Brian||La Farge, WIfirstname.lastname@example.org||608-625-6372|
|Call, Leah||Westby, WIemail@example.com||608-634-4261|
|Davis, Linda||Belleville, WIfirstname.lastname@example.org||608-832-8003|
|Gustafson, Marty||Madison, WIemail@example.com||608-229-2787|
|Rose, Kellye||Burnsville, MNfirstname.lastname@example.org||866-357-4315|
|Stockinger, Joan||St. Paul, MNemail@example.com||651-209-8849|
|Ward, Deb||Winona, MNfirstname.lastname@example.org||507-454-2712|
|Youngquist, John||Verona, WIemail@example.com||608-831-1970|