USDA Awards $45M in Grants to help Agricultural Producers, Rural Businesses Develop Products
SAN JUAN – U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Friday that USDA is providing more than $45 million to help farmers, ranchers, small businesses and entrepreneurs develop new product lines. The USDA is investing in 326 projects through the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program.
VAPG grants can be used to develop new product lines from raw agricultural products or promote additional uses for established products. Veterans, socially disadvantaged groups, beginning farmers and ranchers, operators of small and medium sized family farms and ranches, and farmer and rancher cooperatives are given priority.
José Otero-García, USDA Rural Development state director for Puerto Rico, indicated that eight agricultural producers in Puerto Rico received $1.6 million for value-added activities related to processing and/or marketing, generating new products, or creating and expanding marketing opportunities.
The agricultural producers are De Hoyos Farm LLC, Empacadora y Procesadora del Sur Inc., Setas de Puerto Rico, Ganaderos Borges Inc., Hacienda San Diego LLC, Puerto Rico Coffee Company, Rico Banana Inc., and Kefruits LLC.
“Value-Added Producer Grants are one of USDA’s most sought-after funding sources for veteran and beginning farmers, and rural businesses,” Vilsack said in a Friday release. “These grants provide a much needed source of financing to help producers develop new product lines and increase their income, and keep that income in their community. Economic development initiatives like this one are working – the unemployment rate in rural America is at an eight year low and incomes rose 3.4 % last year. Small business entrepreneurship, which Value-Added Producer Grants support, is a major reason why rural America is making a comeback.”
The USDA has awarded 1,442 VAPG awards since 2009, totaling $183.2 million.
For additional information, contact Danna Quiles, Business & Cooperative program director at Puerto Rico State Office, at (787) 766-5355, 766-5363, 766-5379 or 766-5412 or visit www.rd.usda.gov/pr.