Indianapolis, IN, Jul 23, 2013 -- USDA Rural Development has announced the selection of Cornerstone Family Farms as a recipient of a $50,000 Value Added Producer Grant. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today’s announcement is one part of the Department’s efforts to strengthen the rural economy.
"Today we see an increase in value-added products in the marketplace that are derived from raw agriculture commodities," said Philip Lehmkuhler, USDA Rural Development Indiana State Director, "These projects will help support the continued development of innovative products that are not only helping find alternative energy sources but also bringing higher value for agriculture commodities.”
Cornerstone Family Farms, located in Salem, Indiana, will use the grant to conduct a feasibility study for building a facility to produce fertilizer (anhydrous ammonia) from the farms corn stover (biomass) and glycerin waste from a nearby biofuel refinery.
The Value-Added Producer Grants may be used for feasibility studies or business plans, working capital for marketing value-added agricultural products and for farm-based renewable energy projects. Eligible applicants include independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives, agricultural producer groups, and majority-controlled producer-based business ventures. Value-added products are created when a producer increases the consumer value of an agricultural commodity in the production or processing stage.
Since the start of the Obama Administration, the VAPG program has helped more than 600 agricultural producers and rural businesses.
Through 2008, Congress made several enhancements to the VAPG program. It expanded the definition of value-added to include locally-produced agricultural food products, and it gave priority to projects that focus on increasing opportunities for small and mid-size family farmers and ranchers, beginning farmers and ranchers, and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
According to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Value-Added Producer Grants are yet another reminder of the importance of Farm Bill programs for rural America. A comprehensive new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would further expand the rural economy – and that’s just one reason why Congress must get a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill done as soon as possible.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has a portfolio of programs designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.
USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as USDA implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act. USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.
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