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Geneseo Republic - Geneseo, IL
National cartoonist Dave Granlund's blog features his take on politics and current events -- in cartoon form
Blog: Grants to help farmers increase value of products
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By Dave Granlund
National cartoonist Dave Granlund's blog features his take on politics and current events. Dave has been an editorial cartoonist published in daily newspapers since 1977. Born in Ware, Mass., Granlund began drawing cartoons in grade school and at ...
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Dave Granlund's Editorial Cartoons
National cartoonist Dave Granlund's blog features his take on politics and current events. Dave has been an editorial cartoonist published in daily newspapers since 1977. Born in Ware, Mass., Granlund began drawing cartoons in grade school and at age 16, he was published on the editorial pages of local weekly newspapers. His eight-year enlistment in the USAF included assignments with SAC HQ and with Headquarters Command, where his duties included work as head illustrator for the Presidential Inaugural Subcommittee and providing briefing charts for the White House and support for Air Force One. As part of NATO in Operation Looking Glass with the Airborne Command Post, he was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal. Dave's newspaper honors include awards from UPI, New England Press Association, International Association of Business Communicators, The Associated Press and Massachusetts Press Association. His work has been nominated numerous times for the Pulitzer Prize. His pastimes and interests include history, wood carving, antique tractors and Swedish language studies.
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By USDA
Oct. 2, 2012 6 p.m.

Illinois USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Callahan has invited agricultural producers to apply for grants to increase the value of their products.

"The Value Added Producer Grant program helps farmers with the capital they need to develop their value-added business and pursue marketing opportunities," Callahan said. "These grants can be a catalyst to expand their product offerings, improve their revenue streams and create more economic opportunity by bringing additional value to what they already produce."

Independent producers, farmer and rancher cooperatives, majority-controlled producer-based business ventures, and agricultural producer groups are eligible to apply. Applications are due October 15, 2012.

USDA Rural Development is making up to $14 million in grants available for projects that help farmers and ranchers produce bio-based products from agricultural commodities. The grants, which are competitively awarded, are available for planning activities or for working capital expenses, but not for both. The maximum grant amount is $100,000 for planning grants and $300,000 for working capital grants. Generating new products, creating and expanding marketing opportunities and increasing producer income are the goals of the VAPG program.

For information on how to apply, see page 48951 of the August 15, 2012 Federal Register, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-08-15/pdf/2012-20082.pdf.

Last year's Illinois VAPG recipients included Living Water Farms, Inc. that produces hydroponic green for specialty markets in the Midwest. Located in Strawn, two hours south of Chicago's Loop, they built a hydroponic complex that allows them to consider year-round sales. Living Water Farms was awarded a VAPG last year to expand the market for their greens and now market to Illinois supermarkets, high-end restaurants in Chicago and St. Louis and a Midwest college food service program. The grant helped them evaluate their brand and expand their distribution to other restaurants, specialty retail and institutional outlets.



One of the other Illinois recipients was the Marcoot family who milks Jersey cows in Southern Illinois. In 2010, they built a small farmstead Creamery on the farm where they process all of their milk into Jersey-based artisan cheeses. In order to better meet the demand of their local markets, Marcoot Jersey Farm, Inc. used the grant to diversify its products and now produce 12 cheese varieties exclusively from their milk.



Businesses of all sizes are encouraged to apply, but priority will be given to operators of small and medium-sized farms or ranches that are structured as family farms, beginning farmers or ranchers, or those owned by socially-disadvantaged farmers or ranchers. Grants are available for projects up to 36 months in duration.



For information on how to apply, see page 48951 of the August 15, 2012 Federal Register, USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).



Rural Development has more than 40 programs that foster growth and economic stability in rural areas by providing affordable financing and technical assistance. Support is available for regional food systems, broadband and biofuel infrastructure, homeownership, business development and community needs. More information on USDA Rural Development programs is available on the web at www.rurdev.usda.gov/il .

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