Cutting Grants that Help Small Farms

Trump’s budget proposes eliminating the Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG) program, a relatively small grant program that funds business planning and capital investments to enable small- and medium-size farms to produce value-added products. For farms using sustainable or innovative growing techniques, adding value is critical for long-term profitability, especially those farms too big for direct sales through farmers markets but too small to compete on price in commodity markets. The VAPG has been particularly helpful to farms in the NYC foodshed. In 2016, for example, the NYC-based urban farm Eden Works Inc. received $250,000 to launch a marketing campaign to increase sales of fresh salad greens grown in its hydroponic rooftop farms. Organic Indoors Gardens of Poughkeepsie got a grant of $49,000 to expand their sales of microgreen products. A $53,625 grant to Fishkill Farms, an historic apple orchard in Putnam County, paid for a feasibility study to create a cidery to make and sell hard cider. Eliminating the VAPG will make an imperceptible dent in the US budget but will make it more difficult for regional food systems, and the family farms within them, to thrive.

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