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USDA Grants for Value-Added Agriculture

09/07/2017

The USDA will make available $18 million in funding for producers to establish viable value-added enterprises. The program is administered by USDA- Rural Development. Grants will allow producers to conduct feasibility studies, develop business plans and initiate marketing programs.

Providing seed money for new agricultural enterprises may appear to be both practical and contribute to agricultural output benefitting communities and consumers. What is important is to establish that expenditure on grants and programs demonstrates a positive return. USDA is quick to announce programs some of which appear to be highly speculative but is reticent in releasing financial evaluation of expenditure of public funds.

The USDA has been less than transparent in publishing the results achieved by recipients of grants. Accordingly under the new administration of Dr. Sonny Perdue, a veterinarian and businessman, the evaluation of projects will presumably be undertaken at the grant-application level but then should be followed through to completion.

 

(SMS 1,440-17 September 7th 2017)