If you’ve got a dynamite idea for new value-added farm products, your nearest USDA office may have money available for you from a new round of Value-added Producer Grant funding. Even at a time of tight federal budgets, past VAPG successes make it likely that Congress will continue to add to more than $137 million already passed out since the program was launched by the 2002 Farm Bill.

In an AgMRC Renewable Energy Newsletter article, Kansas State University’s Michael Boland, John Crespi and Dustin Oswald provide tips on getting VAPG funding, which can be up to $500,000 per project, with a $153,576 average. The authors point out that the grants can be used to subsidize the development and marketing of value-added agricultural products, expand a value-added business and provide working capital.

A survey of past grants shows they work best for “the Midwestern and Great Plains states which have strong commodity-focused agriculture” as well as in California, Michigan and Washington, which have very diverse agriculture and many value-added entities already.

“Grants that add value to specialty meats, fluid milk, cut flowers, tree fruit, tree nuts, wheat and wine were found to result in a greater likelihood of VAPG success,” according to the article. For more, including a breakdown of VAPG grants by state, click here.