Current Funding Opportunities

APRIL

Matching Enterprise Grants for Agriculture (MEGA) | Deadline: April 18th

Goals: To assist farmers who have been in business between one and ten years who are developing their farms into commercially viable operations.

Eligibility Factors: Eligible applicants include owners of commercial MA farm businesses that have been operating between 1 and 10 years. You must submit a 2023 tax form with your application to prove farm income of at least $10,000. Previous MEGA awardees may apply if 3 years have passed since their first award.

Funding Limitations: Grants of $10,000, $20,000, or $30,000 are available, all with a 50% match. Farms that have been operating for less than 6 years are eligible for $10,000. Farms that have been operating for 6-10 years may apply for $20,000 if they’ve received MEGA before, or $30,000 if they’ve never received MEGA funds.

Anticipated Timeline: Awards include a business planning and mentorship phase, which is expected to begin in October. The funding phase is expected to begin in March 2025 and projects must be completed by June 30, 2025.

Farm Viability Enhancement Program (FVEP) | Deadline: April 18th

Goals: To provide business planning, technical assistance, and grants to commercial farms to improve farm viability and to preserve and support the stewardship of agricultural resources

Eligibility Factors: MA farms on at least 5 acres (continuously operated for at least the last 3 years) who grossed at least $40,000 in farm income in 2023 may be eligible. The landowner must be the lead or co-applicant.

Funding Limitations: Grants between $100,000 and $200,000 are available. There is no match requirement.

Anticipated Timeline: Awards are delivered in two phases. Phase One is business and technical assistance and will begin in September. Phase Two is the funding phase and will begin in April 2025. Projects must be completed by June 30, 2026.

APR Improvement Program (AIP) | Deadline: April 18th

Goals: To provide business planning, technical assistance, and grants to commercial farms on land protected by the Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) program.

Eligibility Factors: Eligible applicants must be commercial farmers whose farmland was protected by the APR program prior to January 1, 2021. Applicants must have been farming on it for at least the 3 previous years, and must either own the farmland or co-apply with the landowner.

Funding Limitations: Grants of $90,000 to $150,000 are available, scaled according to gross farm income. A 10% cash match is required.

Anticipated Timeline: Awards are delivered in two phases. Phase One is business planning and technical assistance and will begin in September or October. Phase Two is the funding phase and will begin in March or April 2025. Projects must be completed by June 30, 2026.

Stewardship Assistance and Restoration on APRs (SARA) | Deadline: April 18th

Goals: To help address stewardship issues and restore active commercial farming on farmland that has already been preserved through the APR program.

Eligibility Factors: Applicant or co-applicant must be the owner of the property, but not the owner at the time the APR was enacted (unless the restoration is related to a natural disaster). The APR must have been placed on the property prior to June 30, 2021. More eligibility factors are available on page 3 of the RFR.

Funding Limitations: Awards of up to $35,000 are available. A 15% cash match is required.

Anticipated Timeline: Projects must be completed by June 30, 2025.

MAY

Food Security Infrastructure Grant (FSIG) | Deadline: May 2nd

Goals: To ensure that MA farmers, fishermen, and other local food producers are better connected to a strong, resilient food system while providing greater, more equitable access to local food.

Eligibility Factors: Eligible applicants include local food producers, processors, and distributors; emergency food distributors; community and food organizations; school meal programs (including summer meal sponsors); urban farms and community gardens; and nonprofit food security organizations. Applicants that have received more than $1,000,000 from FSIG in previous years are not eligible to apply.

Funding Limitations: Awards of up to $500,000 are available. Projects less than $25,000 require no match; projects of $25,000 or more require a 25% match.

Anticipated Timeline: Contracts are expected to start in September. Projects must be completed by June 30, 2025.

***Check out our fact sheet on this popular program and see how it compares to previous years.***

Urban Agriculture Program (UAP) | Deadline: May 6th

Goals: To support commercial projects designed to increase the production, processing, and marketing of produce grown and sold in urban centers across the Commonwealth, as well as to increase access of fresh, local produce in urban neighborhoods with a high concentration of low-moderate income residents.

Eligibility Factors: Established urban farmers with more than 3 years of commercial urban farming experience, municipalities, 501(c)3 non-profits, and public or non-profit educational or public health institutions may apply.

Funding Limitations: Awards between $5,000 and $50,000 are available for commercial urban ag projects. Awards between $1,000 and $20,000 are available for community garden projects. A 25% cash match is required for requests more than $15,000.

Anticipated Timeline: Awards are expected to be announced in August or September. Projects must be completed by June 30, 2025.

Food Ventures Grant Program (FVGP) | Deadline: May 6th

Goals: To increase access to healthy, affordable food options and improve economic opportunities for low to moderate income communities.

Eligibility Factors: Eligible applicants include non-profit and for-profit organizations, municipalities, and individual MA residents.

Funding Limitations: Grants of $50,000-$250,000 are available. A 50% cash match for the total project cost must be secured at the time of application, either through cash-in-hand or a guaranteed loan.

Anticipated Timeline: Awards are expected to be announced by September or October. Projects must be completed by June 30, 2025.

Agricultural Food Safety Improvement Program (AFSIP) | Deadline: May 24th

Goals: To improve food safety practices on produce farms and aquaculture operations, working towards minimizing the risks of microbial contamination and food-borne illnesses, and increasing market access.

Eligibility Factors: MA produce farms and aquaculture operations that have been in business for at least the 3 previous years may be eligible. If the applicant does not own the property, a written lease of at least 3 years should be provided. Previous recipients of AFSIP are eligible, but at a lower priority in the scoring process.

Funding Limitations: Grants of up to $50,000 or 80% of project costs are available. A 20% cash match is required.

Anticipated Timeline: Awards are expected to be announced by September. Projects must be completed by June 30, 2025.

Cranberry Bog Renovation Grant Program | Deadline: May 24th

Goals: To implement bog renovations that promote more efficient bogs and enhance the business and environmental sustainability of cranberry operations.

Eligibility Factors: Eligible applicants include MA cranberry farms that have been in business for at least the 3 previous years. Bogs must be at least 1 acre. The applicant must own the property or be the co-applicant with the property owner.

Funding Limitations: Grants of $25,000 per acre, up to $125,000, are available. A 25% cash or in-kind match is required, but labor may not be used as in-kind match.

Anticipated Timeline: Awards are expected to be announced by September. Projects must be completed by June 30, 2025.

Climate Smart Agriculture Program (CSAP) | Deadline: May 31st

Goals: To help agricultural operations proactively address risks and strengthen their economic and environmental resiliency, as well as to work towards the goals of the Massachusetts Clean Energy and Climate Plan (CECP) for 2030.

Eligibility Factors: Eligible applicants include commercial agriculture operations that have been managed by the applicant for at least the 3 previous years. If the applicant does not own the property, a written lease of 3 years should be provided.

Funding Limitations: This application contains two sections. For each section, grants of up to $50,000 or 80% of project costs are available. Applicants may apply for both sections (for a total of up to $100,000 with a 20% match) and each section is reviewed separately. In-kind labor is not an eligible match.

Anticipated Timeline: Awards are expected to be announced in October. Projects must be completed by June 30, 2025.

New England Food Vision Prize | Deadline: May 31st

Goals: To support innovative ideas and collaborations that result in increased regional food sourcing by New England’s educational institutions.

Eligibility Factors: The lead applicant must be a nonprofit organization, government entity, or municipality, though partnerships across the food system are required for successful applications. Farms, food hubs, and processors are highly encouraged to be members of the application team.

Funding Limitations: Awards of $25,000 to $200,000 are available. Funding may not be used for food purchases.

Anticipated Timeline: Letters of interest should be submitted by May 31st. In July, you may receive an invitation to apply, and a full application will be due by August 9th. Recipients will be notified by October 25th and projects should be completed within two years.

JUNE

Biz-M-Power Crowdfunding Matching Grant | Deadline: June 30th

Goals: To empower MA small businesses to acquire, expand, improve or lease a facility, purchase or lease equipment, or meet other capital needs of a business

Eligibility Factors: Eligible applicants include small businesses located in Massachusetts owned by low-to-moderate income individuals (LMI) and businesses located in economic disadvantaged urban or rural communities, and businesses operating in Gateway Cities.

Funding Limitations: Businesses must crowdfund a minimum of $2,500 and a maximum of $20,000 to receive a 1:1 matching grant from MGCC between $2,500 and $20,000.

Anticipated Timeline: Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and applicants will be notified 2-6 weeks after applying. Awardees must then launch their crowdfunding campaign within 30 days. Crowdfunding campaigns may be 30-60 days in length, and funds between $2,500 and $20,000 will be matched at the conclusion of the campaign.

ROLLING APPLICATIONS, NO DEADLINE

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

Goals: To address natural resource concerns by planning and/or installing conservation practices that benefit soil, water, plants, air, and animals.

Eligibility Factors: Agricultural or aquacultural producers across the state are welcome to apply. Additional eligibility requirements may be found by contacting your local NRCS field office. Must complete a conservation plan in conjunction with NRCS before submitting an application.

Funding Limitations: Funding possibilities vary based on project. Get in touch with NRCS to learn more.

Massachusetts Food Trust Program (MFTP)

Goals: To increase access to healthy, affordable food in low-income, underserved areas through grants, loans, and business assistance.

Eligibility Factors: Eligible businesses include farm stands, grocery & corner stores, farmers’ markets, food hubs, and more. Must expand food access in underserved areas and align with community needs. Eligible applicants likely accept SNAP, HIP, or WIC. For-profits, non-profits, and cooperatives are all eligible. Preference will be given to applicants who have 3 years of operating experience and who have not previously received state funding.

Funding Limitations: Grants available from $5,000 to $25,000. Loans available from $15,000 to $300,000. Funds may be used for capital expenses, real estate, and more.

Farm Credit East FarmStart Program

Goals: To invest in new Northeast agricultural ventures showing promise of success with limited financial resources.

Eligibility Factors: Farmers, forestry producers, fishermen, farm-related service businesses and cooperatives may be eligible if they are in their first three years of business. Candidates are expected to be rural entrepreneurs or cooperatives with very little accumulated net worth and few financial resources. The applicant also must be an independent enterprise and cannot be affiliated with an established operation.

Funding Limitations: This is NOT a grant. This program offers up to $75,000 in credit for agricultural startups who are not generally eligible for conventional lending programs. Access to advisors, business plan services, and financial management software may also be available to participants at free or discounted rates.

Next Steps: Contact your local Farm Credit East office (probably Middleboro) or email farmstart@farmcrediteast.com.

APRIL

Matching Enterprise Grants for Agriculture (MEGA) | Deadline: April 18th

Goals: To assist farmers (including aquaculturists) who have been in business between one and ten years who are developing their farms into commercially viable operations.

Eligibility Factors: Eligible applicants include owners of commercial MA farm businesses that have been operating between 1 and 10 years. You must submit a 2023 tax form with your application to prove farm income of at least $10,000. Previous MEGA awardees may apply if 3 years have passed since their first award.

Funding Limitations: Grants of $10,000, $20,000, or $30,000 are available, all with a 50% match. Farms that have been operating for less than 6 years are eligible for $10,000. Farms that have been operating for 6-10 years may apply for $20,000 if they’ve received MEGA before, or $30,000 if they’ve never received MEGA funds.

Anticipated Timeline: Awards include a business planning and mentorship phase, which is expected to begin in October. The funding phase is expected to begin in March 2025 and projects must be completed by June 30, 2025.

MAY

Food Security Infrastructure Grant (FSIG) | Deadline: May 2nd

Goals: To ensure that MA farmers, fishermen, and other local food producers are better connected to a strong, resilient food system while providing greater, more equitable access to local food.

Eligibility Factors: Eligible applicants include local food producers, processors, and distributors; emergency food distributors; community and food organizations; school meal programs (including summer meal sponsors); urban farms and community gardens; and nonprofit food security organizations. Applicants that have received more than $1,000,000 from FSIG in previous years are not eligible to apply.

Funding Limitations: Awards of up to $500,000 are available. Matching funds may be required, depending on project costs. Find more information on page 8 of the RFR.

Anticipated Timeline: Contracts are expected to start in September. Projects must be completed by June 30, 2025.

***Check out our fact sheet on this popular program and see how it compares to previous years.***

New England Food Vision Prize | Deadline: May 31st

Goals: To support innovative ideas and collaborations that result in increased regional food sourcing by New England’s educational institutions.

Eligibility Factors: The lead applicant must be a nonprofit organization, government entity, or municipality, though partnerships across the food system are required for successful applications. Farms, fisheries, food hubs, and processors are highly encouraged to be members of the application team.

Funding Limitations: Awards of $25,000 to $200,000 are available. Funding may not be used for food purchases.

Anticipated Timeline: Letters of interest should be submitted by May 31st. In July, you may receive an invitation to apply, and a full application will be due by August 9th. Recipients will be notified by October 25th and projects should be completed within two years.

ROLLING APPLICATIONS, NO DEADLINE

Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP)

Goals: To address natural resource concerns by planning and/or installing conservation practices that benefit soil, water, plants, air, and animals.

Eligibility Factors: Agricultural or aquacultural producers across the state are welcome to apply. Additional eligibility requirements may be found by contacting your local NRCS field office. Must complete a conservation plan in conjunction with NRCS before submitting an application.

Funding Limitations: Funding possibilities vary based on project. Get in touch with NRCS to learn more.

Farm Credit East FarmStart Program

Goals: To invest in new Northeast agricultural ventures showing promise of success with limited financial resources.

Eligibility Factors: Farmers, forestry producers, fishermen, farm-related service businesses and cooperatives may be eligible if they are in their first three years of business. Candidates are expected to be rural entrepreneurs or cooperatives with very little accumulated net worth and few financial resources. The applicant also must be an independent enterprise and cannot be affiliated with an established operation.

Funding Limitations: This is NOT a grant. This program offers up to $75,000 in credit for agricultural startups who are not generally eligible for conventional lending programs. Access to advisors, business plan services, and financial management software may also be available to participants at free or discounted rates.

Next Steps: Contact your local Farm Credit East office (probably Middleboro) or email farmstart@farmcrediteast.com.

MAY

Food Security Infrastructure Grant (FSIG) | Deadline: May 2nd

Goals: To ensure that MA farmers, fishermen, and other local food producers are better connected to a strong, resilient food system while providing greater, more equitable access to local food.

Eligibility Factors: Eligible applicants include local food producers, processors, and distributors; emergency food distributors; community and food organizations; school meal programs (including summer meal sponsors); urban farms and community gardens; and nonprofit food security organizations. Applicants that have received more than $1,000,000 from FSIG in previous years are not eligible to apply.

Funding Limitations: Awards of up to $500,000 are available. Matching funds may be required, depending on project costs. Find more information on page 8 of the RFR.

Anticipated Timeline: Contracts are expected to start in September. Projects must be completed by June 30, 2025.

***Check out our fact sheet on this popular program and see how it compares to previous years.***

Food Ventures Grant Program (FVGP) | Deadline: May 6th

Goals: To increase access to healthy, affordable food options and improve economic opportunities for low to moderate income communities.

Eligibility Factors: Eligible applicants include non-profit and for-profit organizations, municipalities, and individual MA residents.

Funding Limitations: Grants of $50,000-$250,000 are available. A 50% cash match for the total project cost must be secured at the time of application, either through cash-in-hand or a guaranteed loan.

Anticipated Timeline: Awards are expected to be announced by September or October. Projects must be completed by June 30, 2025.

ROLLING APPLICATIONS, NO DEADLINE

Massachusetts Food Trust Program (MFTP)

Goals: To increase access to healthy, affordable food in low-income, underserved areas through grants, loans, and business assistance.

Eligibility Factors: Eligible businesses include farm stands, grocery & corner stores, farmers’ markets, food hubs, and more. Must expand food access in underserved areas and align with community needs. Eligible applicants likely accept SNAP, HIP, or WIC. For-profits, non-profits, and cooperatives are all eligible. Preference will be given to applicants who have 3 years of operating experience and who have not previously received state funding.

Funding Limitations: Grants available from $5,000 to $25,ooo. Loans available from $15,000 to $300,000. Funds may be used for capital expenses, real estate, and more.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recently launched a more comprehensive webpage for federal food systems grant programs. Grants are available at every stage from production & processing to distribution & markets. Find it HERE.

If you represent a funding organization or have knowledge of funding opportunities for farmers and food producers that are not listed here, please contact shickey@semaponline.org.

Additional Assistance & Resources

SEMAP can assist you in your grant application process in several ways. We can review your application once you are ready to submit, we can walk you through it from start-to-finish, and/or we can write a letter of support for your project. If you would like in-depth, start-to-finish assistance, please use this form. If you would like a review or letter of support, please email info@semaponline.org. Keep in mind that, as a small organization, SEMAP will require at least 5 business days of notice ahead of any application deadlines.

We hosted a virtual workshop on grant-writing in Fall 2021. While we specifically looked at the Food Security Infrastructure Grant, some of the lessons learned can be applied to grant-writing broadly, especially for state grant programs. You can view the recording and read our notes.

The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) hosted a virtual walk-through of most of their recurring grant programs in March 2023. This covers CSAP, AFSIP, FVEP, MEGA, AIP, and more. Watch the recording and read more about all MDAR grant programs. They also provided a short general tips video here.

The list at the top of this page includes only grant programs currently accepting applications, but you can prepare for any grant, any time. Check out our anticipated agricultural grant calendar to plan for the coming year. Then use previous years’ RFRs (linked in the calendar) in combination with our grant funding worksheet to prepare your responses to upcoming grants. Note that you should write applications specifically towards each grant purpose, but can use this as a tool to organize your general thoughts.

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