Magazine article Rural Cooperatives

27 Co-Ops among Recipients of $13 Million in USDA Rural Development VAPG Funding

Magazine article Rural Cooperatives

27 Co-Ops among Recipients of $13 Million in USDA Rural Development VAPG Funding

Article excerpt

Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman in mid-October announced the approval of 97 Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG), totaling more than $13.1 million, in 34 states. Farmer-owned cooperatives were awarded 27 of the grants. The grants will help farmers and ranchers increase their economic opportunities through the development of new products and markets for agriculturally based products.

In support of President Bush's 2001 energy plan, 16 percent of the proposals selected will support biomass/ renewable energy-related ventures. "The Bush administration continues to place a high priority on creating new sources of renewable and biomass energy through such grant programs as the value-added producer grant program," Veneman said. "Creating an energy independent nation, through utilization of our nation's natural resources, is a valuable investment in America's future."

"These grants are critical to helping America's farmers and ranchers increase markets for their commodities and to increase their profitability," added Agriculture Acting Under Secretary for Rural Development Gilbert Gonzalez. "President Bush is committed to helping more rural families live the American Dream through the creation of new business ventures that employ more rural Americans. This program is a significant investment in the future of rural families and communities."

Authorized as part of the 2002 Farm Bill, the VAPG program provides an opportunity to refine agricultural commodities and products to increase their value in the marketplace. …

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