The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has released an updated version of its annual , a unique resource that walks farmers through the program’s application requirements, including a step-by-step description of the application and ranking processes.

Recognizing that applying for federal grants can be challenging, even for professional grant-writers, NSAC has been issuing updated versions of their Farmers’ Guide for the last four years.

First released in 2012, the Farmers’ Guide is available as a free resource, downloadable online via the NSAC website and has been updated to correspond with the April announcement that up to $44 million in funding will be available for fiscal year (FY) 2016. The guide provides a snapshot of everything farmers and potential applicants might want to know about VAPG, including: project eligibility and examples of previously awarded projects, proposal types and requirements, an application scoring outline, program history, and an application timeline and checklist.

Administered by USDA Rural Development, VAPG provides competitive grants to help farmers and ranchers take their businesses to the next level by transforming raw goods into higher-value processed products like flour, cheese, or sauces/spreads, by innovative marketing of inherently higher value products like organic or grass-fed, or by linking through food hubs or other supply chain networks to local and regional food markets.

The grants can be used for working capital, feasibility studies, business plans, and marketing efforts. Up to $75,000 is available for planning grants and up to $250,000 is available for implementation grants.

The deadline to submit paper applications for VAPG is July 1, while electronic applications are due June 24 through grants.gov.

Potential Applicants can learn more about the program by visiting NSAC’s Grassroots Guide to the Farm Bill page on the VAPG program. In addition to NSAC’s resources, more information, including application details, is available on the USDA VAPG webpage.