We’ve heard from so many producers in the FarmRaise community this month with the same question: can I still apply to the Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG)? Given the Value Added Producer Grant deadline extension to May 4th, 2021, should producers consider applying in 2021?
We can’t give you a straight “yes” or “no” because, well, it’s complicated
What we will say is that the VAPG application requires a lot of planning, effort, and attention to detail! Farmers will need to write long-form answers to multiple questions and put together a business plan. The entire application is ranked by a USDA scoring system that applicants should consider when both writing and editing their documents. For more on what it takes to apply to VAPG, see this.
If you’re thinking about taking the leap, you should ask yourself: do I feel comfortable writing a grant? Do I have at least 15-20 hours of time to write this application by early May 2021? Do I have enough time to review and edit the app? Would it make sense to start planning for the 2022 cycle instead?
Keep in mind that VAPG may not be your only grant option for the year. EQIP and CSP, Conservation Incentive Contracts, the Conservation Reserve Program, and CFAP are all potential opportunities this year. Most important, remember you aren’t alone! Reach out to your local USDA office or sign up for FarmRaise for direct coaching and support as you strategize your farm’s funding roadmap.