COVID-19 INFORMATION FOR FARMERS AND CONSUMERS

Current Funding Opportunities

JANUARY

Food Safety Certification for Specialty Crops Program | Deadline: January 31st

Goals: To offer financial assistance for specialty crop operations that incur eligible on-farm food safety program expenses related to obtaining or renewing a food safety certification in calendar years in 2022 or 2023

Eligibility Factors: Eligible applicants must have obtained or renewed a food safety certification that was issued between June 21, 2022 and December 31, 2022, and have already paid related expenses at the time of application. Only small specialty crop businesses are eligible (average annual specialty crop value of less than $500,000). View more about eligible expenses here.

Funding Limitations: Grants will be reviewed on a rolling basis and free application assistance is available through your local FSA office.

FEBRUARY

SEMAP Technology, Innovation & Excellence (TIE) Award | Deadline: February 1st

Goals: To enable Norfolk, Bristol, and Plymouth county farmers & fishers to trial new equipment, implement new farm systems, and address challenges producers in the region collectively face. To improve farm businesses’ profitability and sustainability, as well as contribute to collective food systems knowledge.

Eligibility Factors: Active farmers, on land or sea, who are based in Bristol, Plymouth, or Norfolk counties. Non-profit and for-profit entities may apply. Preference will be given to those who have not previously received a TIE award, but there is no limit to the number of awards one entity may receive.

Funding Limitations: Awards range from $500 to $3,000. This is historically a reimbursement-style grant and funds will be sent within 10 days of receiving receipts. This year, we will consider special circumstances where applicants require partial or complete funds up front. If you decide to pursue this option, please provide relevant context in your application.

Anticipated Timeline: Applicants will receive notifications by the end of February and contracts are expected to start mid-March. Funds should be expended by October 31, 2023. Community reporting should be implemented by December 31, 2023.

Dairy Farm Innovation & Alternative Management Grant | Deadline: February 2nd

Goals: To enable dairy farmers to access resources and technical assistance to support the implementation of community- and climate-forward production strategies, especially those that take a whole-farm system approach and increase collaboration with other farms or dairy sector stakeholders.

Eligibility Factors: Dairy farmers headquartered and producing milk in the Northeast are eligible. Producer associations and technical assistance providers are also eligible. Examples of eligible projects can be found HERE.

Funding Limitations: Grants will range from $15,000 to $75,000 with a 25% (cash or in-kind) match commitment required.  Total funds available: $900,000.

Anticipated Timeline: Applications open December 1st and close February 2nd at 2pm. Projects are expected to begin in April and should be completed in 12-15 months, depending on the project.

Commercial Refrigeration Grant | Deadline: February 3rd

Goals: To increase the adoption of more climate-friendly low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants in commercial refrigeration equipment in Massachusetts.

Eligibility Factors: Eligible applicants include new or existing retail food locations, food banks, and nonprofit institutions in Massachusetts that are installing or retrofitting energy-efficient refrigeration systems.

Funding Limitations: This is a reimbursement grant. Funding is variable based on type of project, ranging from 25-100% of project costs, up to $200,000. View funding details HERE.

Anticipated Timeline: Decisions are expected to be announced in May and contracts are anticipated to start in June.

Organic On-Farm Milk Storage & Handling Grant | Deadline: February 9th

Goals: To support the purchase by organic dairies of equipment and other related costs that will improve milk storage, handling, and energy efficiencies.

Eligibility Factors: Certified Organic dairy producers based in the Northeast may be eligible.

Funding Limitations: Grants range from $10,000- $50,000 with a 25% match commitment. Match waivers are also available. FSA low-interest loans and other grants are encouraged to supplement the project. Total funds available: $450,000.

Anticipated Timeline: Grant periods will range from 6 to 12 months, depending on the project.

MARCH

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

Goals: To increase equitable access to locally-produced foods in Massachusetts, as well as ensure that farmers, fisherman and other local food producers are better connected to a strong, resilient food system to help mitigate future food supply and distribution disruptions.

Eligibility Factors: Eligible applicants include farms, fisheries, food processors, schools, pantries, community food organizations, and organizations that provide business planning, technical assistance and information technology services. Non-profit and for-profit entities are eligible, and there is not a 3-year production history requirement like many other grant programs.

Funding Limitations: Awards of up to $500,000 are available. A match is not required, but for proposals over $100,000, a match is strongly recommended. This is a reimbursement grant, so bridge financing will need to be demonstrated; reimbursements may take up to 60 days to process.

Anticipated Timeline: Funds will be disbursed by July 1, 2023 and the project must be completed by June 30, 2024. Extensions are very unlikely.

Dairy Processing Research & Development Innovation Grant | Deadline: March 23rd

Goals: To provide funds for dairy processors, producer associations, and educational institutions to conduct research and development projects that support innovation and allow producers to make informed, long-term business investments.

Eligibility Factors: Licensed dairy processors and producer associations from the Northeast are invited to apply. Educational or research institutions may apply but are required to partner with a minimum of two Northeast-based dairy processors.

Funding Limitations: Grants will range from $75,000 to $250,000 with a 25% (cash or in-kind) match commitment required. Total funds available: $1,000,000.

Anticipated Timeline: Complete details will become available on January 10th. Applications officially open on January 26th.

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.

Biz-M-Power Crowdfunding Matching Grant Program

Goals: To acquire, expand, improve or lease a facility, purchase or lease equipment, or meet other capital needs for small businesses in Massachusetts.

Eligibility Factors: Small for-profit businesses based in MA that have been in operation for at least 3 months and are the business owner’s primary source of income may be eligible. Complete eligibility criteria can be found HERE. Preference will be given to small businesses owned by low- to moderate-income individuals (LMI), women, minorities, immigrants, non-native English speakers, veterans, disabled individuals, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and businesses operating in Massachusetts Gateway Cities.

Funding Limitations: Awards range from $2,500 to $20,000. Funds are contingent on a crowdfunding campaign; awardees are expected to crowdfund at a one-to-one match.

Anticipated Timeline: Applications are reviewed monthly. Funding is available until June 30, 2023 or until it runs out, whichever comes first.

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.

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.

FEBRUARY

SEMAP Technology, Innovation & Excellence (TIE) Award | Deadline: February 1st

Goals: To enable Norfolk, Bristol, and Plymouth county farmers & fishers to trial new equipment, implement new farm systems, and address challenges producers in the region collectively face. To improve farm businesses’ profitability and sustainability, as well as contribute to collective food systems knowledge.

Eligibility Factors: Active farmers, on land or sea, who are based in Bristol, Plymouth, or Norfolk counties. Non-profit and for-profit entities may apply. Preference will be given to those who have not previously received a TIE award, but there is no limit to the number of awards one entity may receive.

Funding Limitations: Awards range from $500 to $3,000. This is historically a reimbursement-style grant and funds will be sent within 10 days of receiving receipts. This year, we will consider special circumstances where applicants require partial or complete funds up front. If you decide to pursue this option, please provide relevant context in your application.

Anticipated Timeline: Applicants will receive notifications by the end of February and contracts are expected to start mid-March. Funds should be expended by October 31, 2023. Community reporting should be implemented by December 31, 2023.

Commercial Refrigeration Grant | Deadline: February 3rd

Goals: To increase the adoption of more climate-friendly low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants in commercial refrigeration equipment in Massachusetts.

Eligibility Factors: Eligible applicants include new or existing retail food locations, food banks, and nonprofit institutions in Massachusetts that are installing or retrofitting energy-efficient refrigeration systems.

Funding Limitations: This is a reimbursement grant. Funding is variable based on type of project, ranging from 25-100% of project costs, up to $200,000. View funding details HERE.

Anticipated Timeline: Decisions are expected to be announced in May and contracts are anticipated to start in June.

MARCH

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

Goals: To increase equitable access to locally-produced foods in Massachusetts, as well as ensure that farmers, fisherman and other local food producers are better connected to a strong, resilient food system to help mitigate future food supply and distribution disruptions.

Eligibility Factors: Eligible applicants include farms, fisheries, food processors, schools, pantries, community food organizations, and organizations that provide business planning, technical assistance and information technology services. Non-profit and for-profit entities are eligible, and there is not a 3-year production history requirement like many other grant programs.

Funding Limitations: Awards of up to $500,000 are available. A match is not required, but for proposals over $100,000, a match is strongly recommended. This is a reimbursement grant, so bridge financing will need to be demonstrated; reimbursements may take up to 60 days to process.

Anticipated Timeline: Funds will be disbursed by July 1, 2023 and the project must be completed by June 30, 2024. Extensions are very unlikely.

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.

Biz-M-Power Crowdfunding Matching Grant Program

Goals: To acquire, expand, improve or lease a facility, purchase or lease equipment, or meet other capital needs for small businesses in Massachusetts.

Eligibility Factors: Small for-profit businesses based in MA that have been in operation for at least 3 months and are the business owner’s primary source of income may be eligible. Complete eligibility criteria can be found HERE. Preference will be given to small businesses owned by low- to moderate-income individuals (LMI), women, minorities, immigrants, non-native English speakers, veterans, disabled individuals, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and businesses operating in Massachusetts Gateway Cities.

Funding Limitations: Awards range from $2,500 to $20,000. Funds are contingent on a crowdfunding campaign; awardees are expected to crowdfund at a one-to-one match.

Anticipated Timeline: Applications are reviewed monthly. Funding is available until June 30, 2023 or until it runs out, whichever comes first.

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.

FEBRUARY

Commercial Refrigeration Grant | Deadline: February 3rd

Goals: To increase the adoption of more climate-friendly low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants in commercial refrigeration equipment in Massachusetts.

Eligibility Factors: Eligible applicants include new or existing retail food locations, food banks, and nonprofit institutions in Massachusetts that are installing or retrofitting energy-efficient refrigeration systems.

Funding Limitations: This is a reimbursement grant. Funding is variable based on type of project, ranging from 25-100% of project costs, up to $200,000. View funding details HERE.

Anticipated Timeline: Decisions are expected to be announced in May and contracts are anticipated to start in June.

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.

Biz-M-Power Crowdfunding Matching Grant Program

Goals: To acquire, expand, improve or lease a facility, purchase or lease equipment, or meet other capital needs for small businesses in Massachusetts.

Eligibility Factors: Small for-profit businesses based in MA that have been in operation for at least 3 months and are the business owner’s primary source of income may be eligible. Complete eligibility criteria can be found HERE. Preference will be given to small businesses owned by low- to moderate-income individuals (LMI), women, minorities, immigrants, non-native English speakers, veterans, disabled individuals, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and businesses operating in Massachusetts Gateway Cities.

Funding Limitations: Awards range from $2,500 to $20,000. Funds are contingent on a crowdfunding campaign; awardees are expected to crowdfund at a one-to-one match.

Anticipated Timeline: Applications are reviewed monthly. Funding is available until June 30, 2023 or until it runs out, whichever comes first.

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 Winter 2022. This covers CSAP, AFSIP, FVEP, MEGA, AIP, and more. Watch the recording and read more about all MDAR grant programs.

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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