Twenty Virginia companies receive value-added grants worth $3.9 million

RICHMOND—Twenty Virginia companies are among recipients of U.S. Department of Agriculture value-added grants to help farmers, ranchers, small businesses and entrepreneurs develop new product lines.

Grants to Virginia recipients ranged from $49,999 to $250,000 each for agricultural products, including beef, pork, fruits, vegetables, baked goods, wine, seafood, cheese, peanuts and beeswax-based cosmetics. The USDA awarded grants nationwide for 325 projects totaling $45 million. Funding for Virginia-based projects exceeded that of any other state.

Of the 20 Virginia grant recipients, 18 received assistance from the Virginia Foundation for Agriculture Innovation and Rural Sustainability, an affiliate of Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.

“Virginia farmers continue to be strong candidates for USDA value-added grants,” said Julia Schlosser, VA FAIRS project manager. “The grants are a source of working capital, which is critical for a small business trying to transition to a larger business model. The funds can be used to cover costs for new operations, fund marketing activities, process new products and hire staff to support new activities.”

VA FAIRS’ areas of expertise include strategic planning, grant assistance, feasibility studies, business plans and cooperative assistance. The foundation’s program focus areas include business development, technical assistance and education.

Value-added producer grants can be used to develop new product lines from raw agricultural products or promote expansion of established product lines. Since 2009 the USDA has awarded 1,442 VAPG grants worth a cumulative $183.2 million. A detailed summary of the most recent VAPG awards is available at

Media: Contact Schlosser at 804-290-1158.

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