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Workshop to Help Producers Develop Value-added Business Ideas

Participants Will Learn How to Apply for USDA’s Value-Added Producer Grant Program

COLUMBIA, Tenn. — If you’re a farmer interested in building or extending a value-added business, take notice. The University of Tennessee Center for Profitable Agriculture, together with specialists from UT Extension, USDA, AgLaunch and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture among others, will conduct a workshop that may help you get funding.

The Developing Value-Added Agriculture Businesses workshop will occur on January 25. This all-day virtual workshop is designed to help producers with value-added enterprises identify business planning resources and technical assistance, grant opportunities and cost-share programs available to them. The focus of the workshop will be on helping producers develop their ideas for USDA’s Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG) program, a competitive program that helps producers enter into value-added activities related to processing and marketing new products.

USDA recently announced $33 million of available funding for the VAPG program, explains Hal Pepper, financial analysis specialist with the Center for Profitable Agriculture. “Our goal is to see Tennessee producers capture more of these grant funds and build successful value-added businesses. Last year producers in the state received twelve awards totaling $2.1 million.”

Pepper says grant and matching funds may be used for planning activities (such as a feasibility study or business or marketing plan) or for working capital expenses related to producing and marketing a value-added agricultural product.

Workshop participants will learn what’s needed to develop a successful application and how to get started in the grant application process. Presenters will explain how to complete the application and how proposals are reviewed and scored. A grant writer/business planner will offer tips, and a producer who previously received a VAPG award will discuss lessons learned from the experience.

Register online for the Developing Value-Added Agriculture Businesses workshop. 

Sessions will begin at 9 a.m. Central/10 a.m. Eastern and end by 3:30 p.m. Central/4:30 p.m. Eastern. There is no fee to attend, but pre-registration is required. 

More information about the workshop is available at the website for the Center for Profitable Agriculture website​. Contact Hal Pepper at the Center for Profitable Agriculture at 931-486-2777 by email to hal.pepper@utk.edu with questions.

Through its land-grant mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. utia.tennessee.edu.

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Hal Pepper, Center for Profitable Agriculture