USDA Rural Development, in cooperation with Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, and Virginia Foundation for Agriculture, Innovation and Rural Sustainability will be conducting workshops focused on assisting agriculture producers and small businesses apply for the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) and the Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program (REEP).

The Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program can be accessed by eligible agricultural producers or producer groups for either planning or working capital in a value-added agriculture endeavor. The grant will pay for up to 50 percent of eligible project costs.

The Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program (REEP) can pay up to 25 percent of the costs for an agriculture producer or small business to implement a renewable energy project or make energy efficiency improvements to their building or processes

An overview of each program as well as tips for applying for grant funds will be presented. Meetings will be held on the following dates in 2008 at the below-listed locations. All meetings will begin at 11:00 a.m. and end at 2:30 p.m. Lunch is included.

• Dec. 8: The Riverstone Technology Building, 1100 Confroy Drive, South Boston, Va., 24592.
 


• Dec. 9: The Heritage Preservation Center (Upper Floor), 115 W. Spiller Street, Wytheville, Va., 24382.
 


• Dec. 10: Virginia Cooperative Extension District Office, 2322 Blue Stone Hills Drive, Suite 140, Harrisonburg, Va., 22801.

• Dec. 11: Hampton Inn and Suites, 117 Fort Evans Road NE, Leesburg, Va., 20176.

• Dec. 12: Virginia Farm Bureau, 12580 West Creek Parkway, Richmond, Va., 23238.

For further information about the meetings, please contact Laurette Tucker of USDA Rural Development at 804-287-1594 or Chris Cook of the Virginia Farm Bureau at 804-290-1111 or visit www.vafairs.com. The meetings are free. However, registration is required to attend. To register, please call 804.290.1155, or email bflem@vafb.com stating your name and which meeting you would like to attend.