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Trump Administration Invests over $300,000 to Boost Rural Iowa Ag Producers and Small Businesses

Des Moines, Iowa, The Trump Administration, along with U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director for Iowa Grant Menke, today announced that the USDA is investing over $300,000 to assist four Iowa agricultural producers in developing new value-added products and expanding their business lines. These funding awards were made through USDA Rural Development’s Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program.

“Rural Iowa communities would not exist without agriculture—our towns and cities were built on the backs of family farms and small businesses,” said Menke. “Through the Value-Added Producer Grant program, Rural Development fosters growth and expansion leading to increased income for ag producers.  Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA continues to work tirelessly to be a strong partner to rural Iowa in building stronger and healthier farms and communities, because we know when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”

In Iowa, four (4) agricultural producers have been selected to receive a total of $303,265 in VAPG funding:

  • North Iowa Fresh, LLC, Located in Clear Lake, Iowa, has been selected to receive a $23,500 grant.  The investment will be used as working capital to expand the marketing of locally produced fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Southern Iowa Alpacas, LLC, in Albia, Iowa, has been selected to receive a $49,775 grant.  The investment will be used for working capital to process alpaca fiber into decorative pillows. Project funds will also be used for market expansion of the value-added product.
  • Pivo Blepta, LLC, in Calmar, Iowa, has been selected to receive a $49,990 grant.  The investment will be used for working capital to expand its hard cider production and sales produced from locally grown apples and pears.
  • Fox Ridge Farm, Inc. (dba Wilson’s Orchard) in Solon, Iowa, has been selected to receive a $180,000 grant.  Project funds will be used by the family-owned orchard as working capital for processing and marketing its new high tannin, low sugar apple crop into European-style dry cider.

USDA is investing in these rural Iowa projects through the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program. VAPG funds may be used for planning activities or working capital expenses related to producing or marketing a value-added product including feasibility studies, business plans, processing of the value-added product, logo and website development, and marketing and distribution. Independent agricultural producers, farmer or rancher cooperatives, and producer-controlled entities are eligible to apply.  Grants are awarded through a national competition—each fiscal year, applications are requested through a notice published in the Federal Register and through an announcement posted on Grants.gov.

Interested parties should contact their USDA Rural Development Iowa Office for information about additional funding, application procedures and eligibility details. More information is available at the following link: Value-Added Producer Grants.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas.

For more information, visit rd.usda.gov/ia or call (515) 284-4663.

Follow us on Twitter @RD_Iowa.


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