HURON — The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is accepting applications for grants to help agricultural producers develop and market new products. Approximately $33 million in grants is available under the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program.

The grants may be used to develop new Value-Added Products (VAP) from raw agricultural products they produce or to promote new markets for established VAPs. Veterans, socially disadvantaged groups, beginning farmers and ranchers, operators of small- and medium-sized family farms and ranches, and farmer and rancher cooperatives can apply for special funding set-a-sides. The program helps with the generation of new products, creation and the expansion of marketing opportunities and increases producer income. The agricultural community is a key part of South Dakota’s economy and these grants can help make a difference by increasing revenues and opportunities.

Interested applicants are encouraged to apply early. Electronic applications must be submitted by March 16, 2021, to Grants.gov. Paper or emailed applications must be submitted by March 22, 2021. For paper or emailed application submissions, contact the loan specialist servicing the county where the project is located:

• Aberdeen — Clark Guthmiller, Specialist at clark.guthmiller@usda.gov or (605) 301-3409 or Wyatt Stevens at wyatt.stevens@usda.gov or (605) 937-4783; Counties: Brown, Codington, Day, Edmunds, Grant, Hamlin, Marshall, McPherson, and Roberts.

• Mitchell — Gary Wedel, Specialist at gary.wedel@usda.gov or (605) 299-3339 or Cayla Holleman, Specialist at cayla.holleman@usda.gov or (605) 299-3357; Counties: Aurora, Beadle, Brookings, Brule, Buffalo, Clark, Charles Mix, Davison, Deuel, Douglas, Faulk, Gregory, Hand, Hanson, Hyde, Jerauld, Kingsbury, Lake, Lyman, McCook, Miner, Sanborn, Spink, and Tripp.

• Pierre — Clark Guthmiller, Specialist at clark.guthmiller@usda.gov or (605) 301-3409; Counties: Campbell, Corson, Dewey, Haakon, Hughes, Jones, Mellette, Potter, Stanley, Sully, Todd, Walworth, and Ziebach.

• Rapid City — Lance Lockwood, Specialist at lance.lockwood@usda.gov or (605) 858-6683; Counties: Bennett, Butte, Custer, Fall River, Harding, Jackson, Lawrence, Meade, Oglala Lakota, Perkins, and Pennington.

• Sioux Falls — Tyler Hinrichs, Specialist at tyler.hinrichs@usda.gov or (605) 937-4770; Counties: Bon Homme, Clay, Hutchinson, Lincoln, Minnehaha, Moody, Turner, Union, and Yankton.

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 www.rd.usda.gov/sd.

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