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Federal grants available

Farmers and rural small businesses may be eligible for federal grants that could help with needed capital to add value to products or improve energy efficiency on the farm.

“Each year Congress appropriates funding for various grants to accomplish specific goals and initiatives within federal government agencies. These grants are excellent opportunities for farmers or small businesses to go directly on-line, apply for the grant and get the funding,” said Amy Eizinger-Ott, ISDA grants coordinator. “They do not need to be a part of any group and they will be pleasantly surprised at the numerous resources available to assist them through the application process.”

Grants available through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) are the Value Added Producers Grant and the Rural Energy for America Program Grants/Renewable Energy Systems/Energy Efficiency Improvement Program.

The USDA’s Value Added Producers Grant is intended for the independent producer, agriculture producer group, farmer/rancher cooperative or majority-controlled producer-based business venture. Funds can be used to create marketing opportunities and to help develop business plans for viable marketing opportunities. Applications are due to USDA by July 6th.

USDA’s REAP/RES/EEI provides funds to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. Projects must be located in a rural area, be technically feasible and be owned by the applicant. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis and can be up to 25 percent of total eligible project costs. Applications are due July 31, 2009.

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