DATCP: Value added services funding available

Proposals are due March 31, 2011

Contact: Linda Merriman Hitchman, 608-224-5132

Ashley Huibregtse, 608-224-5002

MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is currently accepting proposals for Value Added Services Funding. DATCP is collaborating with the Wisconsin Agriculture Innovation and Development Center (AIDC) to solicit proposals, evaluate submissions, and award funds.

Proposals are due by 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 31, 2011.

The AIDC is a new, private non-profit organization created to increase agricultural producer access to value added opportunities. This organization was established and funded under a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Agency. The AIDC is directed by a board of representatives from commodity and farm organizations.

These funds are targeted to increase agriculture profitability through adding value to commodities. The AIDC invites proposals for projects that provide direct services to producers and assist them to market or produce value added agricultural products, other than dairy. Dairy producers interested in similar assistance can already apply to the Dairy Business Innovation Center (DBIC), a private nonprofit that provides technical, marketing, and business planning support to dairy business. Information about DBIC can be found at http://www.dbicusa.org or by contacting Kathy Brown at 262-740-2175 or Norm Monsen of DATCP at 608-224-5135.

Value Added Services Funding is not a grant program that awards funds directly to a producer or group of producers. Although the beneficiary of services will be producers, funding will be provided directly to a service provider or an organization that proposes to subcontract with a service provider.

Eligible services for producers provided by this Value Added Services Funding may include:

* Technical assistance, consisting of engineering services, applied research, product development and similar services.

* Assistance in marketing, market development and business planning.

* Organizational, outreach, and development assistance.

Individuals, groups, businesses, and organizations involved in agriculture are encouraged to apply. Proposals may involve collaborations or partnerships between producers, industry, academia, or agricultural organizations. Applicants may cooperate with any public or private organization.

The AIDC has allocated $350,000 for value added producer service projects in 2011. The maximum award is $50,000 per project.

Additional information and application materials are available online at datcp.wisconsin.gov under Business, Ag Innovation & Development. For questions about the funding or completing the application, contact Linda Merriman Hitchman by e-mail at [email protected] or at 608-224-5132.