On April 16, 2007, the Rural Business-Cooperative Service at the US Department of Agriculture announced the availability of approximately $19.3 million for Value-Added Producer Grants (Sec. 6401 of the 2002 Farm Bill).

The objective of this program is to help Independent Producers of Agriculture Commodities, Agriculture Producer Groups, Farmer and Rancher Cooperatives, and Majority-Controlled Producer-Based Business Ventures develop strategies and business plans to create marketing opportunities regarding production of biobased products from agricultural commodities.

These competitive grants may be awarded for value-added planning activities or working capital, but not for both. Bioenergy projects – a renewable energy system that produces fuel, thermal energy, or electric power from a biomass source – are included in this program. The maximum grant amount for a planning grant is $100,000 and the maximum grant amount for a working capital grant is $300,000.

Both paper and electronic applications for grants must be submitted by May 16, 2007, for FY 2007, grant funding. Late applications are not eligible for FY 2007 grant funding.