COVID-19 INFORMATION FOR FARMERS AND CONSUMERS

Current Funding Opportunities

MAY

Many of the following grants with May deadlines were covered in detail in an MDAR webinar on March 21st!

MDAR Grant Managers covered eligibility, best practices, project examples, and evaluation criteria of FVEP, AIP, MEGA, CSAP, and AFSIP in this webinar. Missed it? Check out the recording HERE.

Climate Smart Agriculture Program (CSAP) | Deadline: May 26th at 4:00pm

Goals: To enable agricultural operations to proactively address risks related to climate & natural resources, as well as strengthen their economic and environmental resiliency.

Eligibility Factors: Commercial agricultural operations who have been in business on the property the project will be implemented for at least the 3 previous years.

Funding Limitations: This is a reimbursement grant and grant funds will be distributed in one lump sum at the completion of your project, with only some exceptions. Funds will cover up to 80% of project costs; applicants must demonstrate a 20% cash match. Awardees may receive up to $100,000.

Anticipated Timeline: Contracts are expected to start in September 2023. They will conclude on June 30, 2024, and all receipts for project purchases must be submitted on or before that date.

Agricultural Food Safety Improvement Program (AFSIP) | Deadline: May 26th at 4:00pm

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

Eligibility Factors: Commercial produce or aquacultural operations who have been in business on the property the project will be implemented for at least the 3 previous years.

Funding Limitations: This is a reimbursement grant and grant funds will be distributed in one lump sum at the completion of your project, with only some exceptions. Funds will cover up to 80% of project costs; applicants must demonstrate a 20% cash match. Awardees may receive up to $50,000.

Anticipated Timeline: Contracts are expected to start in September 2023. They will conclude on June 30, 2024, and all receipts for project purchases must be submitted on or before that date.

Cranberry Bog Renovation Grant Program | Deadline: May 26th at 4:00pm

Goals: To promote more efficient bogs both in design and production while enhancing the business and environmental sustainability of the cranberry operation.

Eligibility Factors: Commercial cranberry operations who have been in business on the property the project will be implemented for at least the 3 previous years. Bogs must be greater than 1 acre.

Funding Limitations: This is a reimbursement grant and grant funds will be distributed in one lump sum at the completion of your project, with only some exceptions. Funds will cover up to 75% of project costs; applicants must demonstrate a 25% cash or in-kind match. Awardees may receive $15,000 per acre up to a total of $75,000.

Anticipated Timeline: Contracts are expected to start in October 2023. They will conclude on June 30, 2024, and all receipts for project purchases must be submitted on or before that date.

JUNE

Dairy Marketing and Branding Services Grant | Deadline: June 8th

Goals: To assist established value-added dairy processors and producer associations to access professional marketing and branding services to elevate value-added dairy businesses. To increase consumer awareness of dairy products, develop market channels and distribution opportunities to increase product placement, support innovative strategies to increase consumption, and/or increase business revenues.

Eligibility Factors: Licensed dairy processors and producer associations based in the Northeast may be eligible. Projects related to expanding production or increasing production efficiencies will not be funded.

Funding Limitations: Grants will be $10,000-50,000 and require a 25% cash or in-kind match. Grant funds will be distributed to awardees in three stages: 40% of funds up-front, 40% mid-project, and 20% once the grant is complete.

Anticipated Timeline: Contracts are expected to start on August 1st and be completed by June 30, 2024.

Massachusetts Food Ventures Program (MFVP) | Deadline: June 14th at 4:00pm

Goals: To provide economic opportunities that promote job creation enterprises or new commercial businesses in the regional Commonwealth’s food system, especially in areas of low or moderate income.

Eligibility Factors: Municipalities, non-profits, and for-profit businesses across Massachusetts are all eligible. All projects must accept SNAP, if applicable. Find examples of eligible projects in the RFR.

Funding Limitations: Grants of up to $250,000 are available and a 50% match is required. Match must be demonstrated by cash-in-hand or a guaranteed loan at the time of application.

Anticipated Timeline: Contracts are expected to start in September 2023. They will conclude on June 30, 2024, and all receipts for project purchases must be submitted on or before that date.

Danone Institute Sustainable Food Systems Initiative | Deadline: June 14th

Goals: To fund transdisciplinary, community-based work that designs, implements, and evaluates actionable community-based projects on sustainable food systems that contribute to the nutritional health of populations, as well as communicates about their impact.

Eligibility Factors: Applicant teams should include four core team members representing diverse disciplines related to food systems, including, but not limited to, nutrition, health, economics, agriculture, community food access and social or environmental sciences. At least one team member must be a faculty member of a higher ed institution.

Funding Limitations: Grants of $50,000 are available, and applicant teams with the strongest plan to communicate their project’s results will receive an additional $10,000.

Anticipated Timeline: Projects should be completed within 24 months.

The New England Food Vision Prize | Deadline for letters of interest: June 16th

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

Eligibility Factors: Primary applicants must be non-profits or government agencies, including municipalities. For-profit farms are encouraged to apply in collaboration with one of these eligible groups. At least one educational institution should be identified as a direct beneficiary of the project and offer a letter of support.

Funding Limitations: Awards may range from $25,000 to $200,000 and can fund equipment, training & certification, marketing, staffing and more. Funds cannot be used for the purchase of food.

Anticipated Timeline: After submitting a letter of interest, advancing applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal on July 10th, to be submitted by August 25th. Recipients will be notified by November 3rd and projects should be completed within 2 years.

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

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 $3,000 to $40,000. Funds are contingent on a crowdfunding campaign; awardees are expected to crowdfund at least $1,500, and the program will match at a 2-to-1 rate.

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

JULY

Local Meat Capacity Grant | Deadline: July 19th

Goals: To provide more and better processing options for local livestock producers by modernizing, increasing, diversifying and decentralizing meat and poultry processing capacity.

Eligibility Factors: Eligible applicants include business entities (regardless of legal structure) engaged in meat and poultry processing, including rendering animal carcasses or byproducts. Eligible entities include Tribes and Tribal Entities, for-profit entities, non-profit entities, and State or local government entities. Applicants can be federally inspected OR inspected at the state level.

Funding Limitations: There are two types of allowable projects, each with their own funding limitations & timelines. Processing expansion projects may receive awards between $100,000 and $5 million, and require a 50% cash match. Equipment-only projects may be between $10,000 and $250,000, and do not require a match.

Anticipated Timeline: Contracts are expected to begin on November 30th. Equipment-only projects should be completed within 2 years, and processing expansion projects must be completed within 3 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.

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.

MAY

Agricultural Food Safety Improvement Program (AFSIP) | Deadline: May 26th at 4:00pm

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

Eligibility Factors: Commercial produce or aquacultural operations who have been in business on the property the project will be implemented for at least the 3 previous years.

Funding Limitations: This is a reimbursement grant and grant funds will be distributed in one lump sum at the completion of your project, with only some exceptions. Funds will cover up to 80% of project costs; applicants must demonstrate a 20% cash match. Awardees may receive up to $50,000.

Anticipated Timeline: Contracts are expected to start in September 2023. They will conclude on June 30, 2024, and all receipts for project purchases must be submitted on or before that date.

Climate Smart Agriculture Program (CSAP) | Deadline: May 26th at 4:00pm

Goals: To enable agricultural and aquacultural operations to proactively address risks related to climate & natural resources, as well as strengthen their economic and environmental resiliency.

Eligibility Factors: Commercial agricultural and aquacultural operations who have been in business on the property the project will be implemented for at least the 3 previous years.

Funding Limitations: This is a reimbursement grant and grant funds will be distributed in one lump sum at the completion of your project, with only some exceptions. Funds will cover up to 80% of project costs; applicants must demonstrate a 20% cash match. Awardees may receive up to $100,000.

Anticipated Timeline: Contracts are expected to start in September 2023. They will conclude on June 30, 2024, and all receipts for project purchases must be submitted on or before that date.

JUNE

Danone Institute Sustainable Food Systems Initiative | Deadline: June 14th

Goals: To fund transdisciplinary, community-based work that designs, implements, and evaluates actionable community-based projects on sustainable food systems that contribute to the nutritional health of populations, as well as communicates about their impact.

Eligibility Factors: Applicant teams should include four core team members representing diverse disciplines related to food systems, including, but not limited to, nutrition, health, economics, agriculture, community food access and social or environmental sciences. At least one team member must be a faculty member of a higher ed institution.

Funding Limitations: Grants of $50,000 are available, and applicant teams with the strongest plan to communicate their project’s results will receive an additional $10,000.

Anticipated Timeline: Projects should be completed within 24 months.

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

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.

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.

JUNE

Danone Institute Sustainable Food Systems Initiative | Deadline: June 14th

Goals: To fund transdisciplinary, community-based work that designs, implements, and evaluates actionable community-based projects on sustainable food systems that contribute to the nutritional health of populations, as well as communicates about their impact.

Eligibility Factors: Applicant teams should include four core team members representing diverse disciplines related to food systems, including, but not limited to, nutrition, health, economics, agriculture, community food access and social or environmental sciences. At least one team member must be a faculty member of a higher ed institution.

Funding Limitations: Grants of $50,000 are available, and applicant teams with the strongest plan to communicate their project’s results will receive an additional $10,000.

Anticipated Timeline: Projects should be completed within 24 months.

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

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.

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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