(CNSNews.com) - The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded a $49,999 grant for the marketing of alpaca poop.
The money was given out this year as part of the agency’s $25 million Value-Added Producers Grant (VAPG) program.
Mary’s Alpaca LLC of Virginia was awarded the grant. Owner Mary Forte tells CNSNews.com that the money will be used to market “Mary’s Premium Alpaca Poop Packs”.
“I’ll be using part of this money to develop a website,” Forte says. “I don’t really know how to utilize social media but a marketing company will and I want to get it out there.”
The website is maryspoop.com. It currently offers 20 “poop packs” for $29.95.
An “Alpaca Poop Pack” is a biodegradable tea bag filled with dried, ground up alpaca poop. It’s dissolved in a gallon of water and then used to feed plants.
“This is the new wave in urban environmental care,” Forte says.
The USDA website says, "The primary objective of the VAPG program is to help agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of bio-based value-added products."
In an August 2014 USDA press release on VAPG, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says, "The funding we are announcing today will have far-reaching, positive impacts in rural communities across the country."
Since 2009 the USDA has awarded 863 grants totaling $108 million through the VAPG program.