VHCB's Grant Opportunities for Farmers
VT Farm & Forest Viability Program Water Quality or Dairy Improvement Grants
The Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program, a program of the VT Housing & Conservation Board (VHCB), recently announced the availability of grant funds for on-farm capital improvement projects. Eligible farmers can apply for Water Quality Grants or Dairy Improvement Grants, both of which allow up to $40,000 in funding. Matching funds are required for both grants and may include federal or state grants as well as cash or loans. Upcoming application deadlines and eligibility requirements for both grant programs are available on the Viability Program website.
Water Quality Grants will help farmers make water quality-related capital improvements in on-farm infrastructure. The grants will assist with the costs of improvements required to comply with new regulations and are designed to complement existing federal & state grant programs that address soil health & water quality. To be eligible for Water Quality Grants, farmers must be subject to Vermont’s Required Agricultural Practices (RAPs) and have a minimum of $15,000 in gross farm income. Application materials are available on VHCB’s Viability Program webpage, and the first of three upcoming deadlines will be October 13th, 2017.
To be eligible for Dairy Improvement Grants, farmers are required to provide a business plan and be members of the St. Albans Cooperative Creamery or Dairy Farmers of America. Dairy Improvement Grants application materials are also available on VHCB’s Viability Program webpage. The deadline for the first round of this grant is Wedneday, November 15, 2017.
A side-by-side comparison sheet lists deadlines, eligibility and applications requirements to know which fund source fits their farm and project best. That document also lists the three public information sessions that Viability Program staff will hold later this month to talk about both grant programs and field questions from farmers considering to apply for funds. The closest to Addison County is on Thursday, September 21, 2017 from 10am-12pm, at Neighborworks of Western VT, 110 Marble St., in Rutland. (Other locations & dates, both from 10 am to noon, are Wed., Sept. 20, 2017 at the St. Albans Free Library, 11 Maiden Lane or Fri., Sept. 22, 2017 at the Hartland Public Library, 153 US Route 5.)
Viability Program grants help farmers leverage loan funds for projects or implement changes more quickly and effectively. Past projects funded with Dairy Improvement Grants have yielded significant improvements in cow comfort, quality of life, water quality, and farm viability. Two- thirds of grantees report improved on-farm efficiencies, and over half report improved milk quality and animal welfare.
The Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program provides business planning, technical assistance, and ownership transfer planning to farm, food, forestry, and forest products businesses. For more information visit the Viability Program website: www.vhcb.org/viability or call Liz Gleason, Program Manager at 828-3370.