Funding opportunities

Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge

The Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge is a national business competition for U.S. food and agriculture startups. Entrepreneurs will compete for $145,000 in startup funds. Ten semi-finalist teams will be announced on November 5, 2019, and awarded $10,000 each. All 10 semi-finalist teams will travel to AFBF's Annual Convention, in Austin, Texas, in January 2020, with all expenses paid, to compete in a live competition to be the Farm Bureau Entrepreneur of the Year. Applications are due by September 30, 2019.

 

Native American Agriculture Fund

The Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF) is newly formed private charitable trust devoted to serving the interest of Native farmers and ranchers. NAAF is accepting applications from 501(c)(3) organizations, educational organizations, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Native CDFIs, and state and federally recognized tribes for the provision of business assistance, agricultural education, technical support, and advocacy services to existing and aspiring Native farmers and ranchers. Applications are due by September 30, 2019.

 

Minnesota Dairy Assistance, Investment, and Relief Initiative (DAIRI)

The DAIRI program provides financial assistance to small to medium-sized dairy operations that participate in the USDA Farm Service Agency's Dairy Margin Coverage (DMC) program. Applicants must be the principal operator of a Minnesota dairy cow operation that produced less than 16 million pounds of milk in 2018, and sign up for five years of coverage through the DMC. There will be two payments to eligible producers, based on the amount of milk produced in 2018, at 10 cents per cwt, up to 50,000 cwt. Applications must be postmarked no later than October 1, 2019.

 

Good Food Accelerator Cohort

The Good Food Accelerator (GFA) is a fellowship program for food entrepreneurs in Chicago. GFA helps food entrepreneurs expand the production, marketing, and distribution of locally and responsibly produced food, in order to enhance the social, economic, and environmental health of communities. GFA provides competitively selected fellows with coaching, mentoring, strategic support, and access to resources and sources of capital so they can thrive commercially and have a powerful ripple effect on the local economy. Businesses must be located in the Midwest Region (IL, IA, KS, MO, ND, SD, NE, WI, MI, OH, IN, MN) or serve the Chicago Food Shed (any state that borders IL) and have a CPG product developed. Applications are due by October 1, 2019.

 

Maine Farms for the Future Program

The State of Maine, Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, Bureau of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources offers grants for business plan development (Phase 1) and investment support (Phase 2) to improve "farm vitality," as authorized in the Maine Farms for the Future Program. Phase 1 grants of $6,000 to research and develop a business plan are available to eligible Maine farms. To be eligible for a Phase 2 cash grant and/or the low interest rate through the Agricultural Marketing Loan Fund, the applicant must be a selected farm that was previously selected for and completed Phase 1. Applications are due by October 8, 2019.

 

North Central Region SARE Research and Education Grant Program

The North Central Region of Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (NCR-SARE) is accepting preproposals for its Research and Education (R&E) program. This program supports sustainable agriculture innovators with competitive research and education grants ranging from $50,000 to $200,000. NCR-SARE expects to fund about 15 projects up to $250,000 in the 12-state North Central region for 2020. New for the 2020 funding cycle, NCR-SARE will be accepting preproposals for long-term projects. Preproposals are due by October 10, 2019.

 

Practical Farmers of Iowa Savings Incentive Program

Practical Farmers of Iowa's Savings Incentive Program is a two-year program that pairs beginning and aspiring farmers with experienced farmer mentors. It provides targeted learning and peer networking opportunities, and offers business planning support and guidance. Upon program completion, Practical Farmers of Iowa matches participants' savings dollar for dollar, up to $2,400, to use toward the purchase of a farm asset. Applicants must either be farming on their own now and have farmed for five or fewer years, or have some experience working for a farm business. They must reside in Iowa or farm in the state, and they must be members of Practical Farmers of Iowa. Applications are due by October 11, 2019.

 

Specialty Crop Research Initiative

The Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI) program, administered by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, addresses the critical needs of the specialty crop industry. The program awards a total of $80 million in grants to support research and extension that address key challenges of national, regional, and multi-state importance in sustaining all components of food and agriculture, including conventional and organic food production systems. Projects must address at least one of five identified focus areas. Pre-applications may only be submitted by Federal agencies, national laboratories, colleges and universities, research institutions and organizations, private organizations or corporations, State Agricultural Experiment Stations, Cooperative Extension Services, individuals, or groups consisting of two or more of these entities. Pre-applications are due October 15, 2019.

 

National Clean Plant Network

The National Clean Plant Network (NCPN) administered by United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service provides high quality asexually propagated plant material tested for targeted plant pathogens and pests to protect the environment and ensure the global competitiveness of specialty crop producers. In FY 2020, APHIS has a minimum of $5 million to support NCPN clean plant projects nationally. Funding will be provided to Land-Grant Universities, non-Land-Grant Colleges of Agriculture, State Agricultural Experiment Stations, State Governments, and Federal Agencies to support Network priorities as listed online. Proposals must be received by October 18, 2019.

 

Small Business Innovation Research Program: Phase I

USDA is accepting applications for up to $100,000 in Phase I funding available through the Small Business Innovation Research Program. The USDA SBIR program supports small businesses in the creation of innovative, disruptive technologies and enables the application of research advancements from conception into the market. Small businesses and small proprietorships that are in business for profit are eligible to submit applications to this program. Proposed Phase I projects should prove the scientific or technical feasibility of the approach or concept. Projects dealing with agriculturally related manufacturing and alternative and renewable energy technologies are encouraged across all SBIR topic areas. Applications are due by October 23, 2019.

 

Michigan Rural Development Fund

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is offering a grant opportunity for projects that address expansion and sustainability of land-based industries; worker training related to land-based industries; and energy, transportation, communications, water and wastewater infrastructure to benefit rural communities and micropolitan statistical areas. The maximum limit on grant fund requests is $100,000. Applicants must provide a minimum 30% match. Proposals are due October 29, 2019.

 

Sustainability Scholarships for Iowa Undergraduates

A new sustainability scholarship program sponsored by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University is offering scholarships up to $1,000 for selected proposals to support planned learning and participation experiences for students interested in the broad area of sustainability. Students can apply from any public or private four-year college or university in Iowa. Proposals can be related to agriculture, food, natural resources or related topics. Proposals can be defined educational, research, or work projects, attendance at a meeting of relevant interest, or other educational opportunity. The deadline for submission is October 30, 2019.

 

California Biologically Integrated Farming Systems (BIFS) Program

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is accepting grant applications for its Biologically Integrated Farming Systems (BIFS) Program. The BIFS grant program funds on-farm demonstration and evaluation of innovative biologically based farming systems that employ Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies. The goal of the revitalized Biologically Integrated Farming Systems grant program is to provide outreach of innovative, biologically integrated plant-based farming systems that reduce chemical insecticide inputs. CDFA will consider applications with budgets of $200,000 to $1 million. Public or private colleges and universities, local and federal government entities including tribal governments, and non-profit organizations are eligible to apply. Applications are due October 31, 2019.

 

California Proactive Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Solutions Program

The California Department of Food and Agriculture is accepting grant applications for its Proactive Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Solutions Program. The goal of the Proactive IPM Solutions Program is to anticipate exotic pests likely to arrive in California and to identify and test IPM strategies that can be implemented quickly if the pests are detected. A total of $1.2 million amount is available in this grant cycle. Because of the impending cancellation of chlorpyrifos products, for the current RFP, crops that have used chlorpyrifos will be a priority. Public or private colleges and universities, local and federal government entities including tribal governments, and nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply. Proposals are due by October 31, 2019.

 

Minnesota Farm to School and Farm to Early Care and Education Grants

Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is taking applications for the Agricultural Growth, Research and Innovation (AGRI) Farm to School and Farm to Early Care and Education Grants. The MDA will award up to $374,000 to eligible institutions to increase the use of Minnesota grown and raised foods through planning and feasibility studies, or equipment purchases and physical improvements. Applications must be submitted by November 7, 2019.

 

Western SARE Farmer/Rancher Grant

Western Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) is accepting proposals for Farmer/Rancher Grants. This grant program involves agricultural producers and technical advisor(s) implementing projects to address identified needs in sustainable agriculture. With the support and guidance of the technical advisor, producers must integrate research and education to conduct on-site/on-farm experiments to improve production, marketing, and the environment. It is expected that outcomes of funded projects will result in quantifiable benefits for producers, increase the preservation of the natural and social resources upon which agriculture relies, and be shared with other producers. Farmer/Rancher projects are limited to $20,000 for one producer or to $25,000 for three or more producers, for up to three years. Proposals are due by November 11, 2019.

 

Western SARE Professional Development Program Grants

Western Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) is accepting proposals for Professional Development Program (PDP) grants. This grant program focuses on training agricultural professionals to help them spread knowledge about sustainable agriculture concepts and practices. PDP Grants are limited to $75,000. Grants can run for three years. Proposals are due by November 13, 2019.

 

Western SARE Professional + Producer Grants

Western Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) is accepting proposals for its Professional + Producer Grants. These grants involve agricultural professionals (main applicant) and producers implementing projects to address identified needs in sustainable agriculture. With the collaboration of producers, projects must integrate research and education aiming to advance environmental, economic, and social components of sustainable agriculture and use innovative educational outreach to disseminate new knowledge to producers and other agricultural stakeholders. Outcomes of funded projects should result in quantifiable benefits for producers, increase the preservation of the natural and social resources upon which agriculture relies, and be shared with other producers. Professional + Producer projects are limited to $50,000 for up to three years. Proposals are due by November 13, 2019.

 

Minnesota AGRI Urban Agriculture Grant Program

The AGRI Urban Agriculture Grant Program encourages urban youth agricultural education and urban agriculture community development within city limits of urban or peri-urban areas. Grants help organizations and communities obtain the materials and services necessary to successfully promote urban youth agricultural education and urban agriculture community development. Eligible grant projects include the purchase and installation of equipment; capital expenditures (costs incurred to make physical improvements to, or construct a facility); and/or dedicated staff contractor time. Projects must be located in eligible communities. Applications are due by November 14, 2019.

 

NCR-SARE Youth Educator Grant

North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (NCR-SARE) is accepting proposals for 2020 Youth Educator Grants. Projects provide opportunities for youth in the North Central Region to learn more about sustainable agriculture (farming and ranching that is ecologically sound, profitable, and socially responsible). Projects should help youth discover that sustainable farming and ranching is profitable; good for families, communities, and their quality of life; and good for the environment long term. The maximum amount for grants is $4,000, and a total of approximately $40,000 is available for this program. Proposals are due by November 14, 2019.

 

Southern SARE Producer Grant Program

Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) program has issued a call for proposals for the 2020 Producer Grant Program, intended for farmers/ranchers and farmer/rancher organizations throughout the Southern region. Producer Grants are used to conduct sustainable agriculture research projects that solve agricultural production challenges farmers face and to develop information on what works and what doesn't so that other farmers and ranchers facing those same challenges can benefit from the results of the funded project. The maximum funding amount for a Producer Grant has increased to $15,000 for individual farmers/ranchers and $20,000 for farmer/rancher organizations. Proposal submission deadline is November 15, 2019.

 

Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Initiative Service Provider Grants

The State of Vermont's Working Lands Enterprise Initiative is accepting applications for Service Provider Grants from $5,000 to $20,000, to support the development of Vermont-based agriculture and forest-products businesses. Matching grants are available for service and technical assistance providers to create and continue programming for Vermont businesses. Projects must enhance Vermont's working landscape, and the primary applicant must be headquartered in Vermont. Applications are due November 17, 2019.

 

Western SARE Research to Grass Roots Grants

Western Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) is accepting proposals for Research to Grass Roots Grants. These grants are built on the SARE concept that results of applied research are used to train agricultural professionals and producers in the latest principles of sustainable agriculture. Successful R2GR projects will take the research results from previously funded SARE projects and bring those results into the field through education to ag professionals and producers. The maximum for each project's funding is $75,000. Proposals are due November 20, 2019.

 

Minnesota AGRI Crop Research Grant

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is accepting grant applications for applied crop research that promotes economic growth and environmentally sustainable practices. The MDA anticipates awarding more than $1 million for proposals that will improve agricultural product quality, quantity, or value in Minnesota. In addition to underserved agricultural producers, preference will also be given to applicants researching crops that have limited access to other research funds and those that have financial support from participating partners. Minnesota-based organizations with agricultural research capabilities may apply, for a maximum of $250,000 per project. Applications are due November 26, 2019.

 

Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative

The Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative (FFFI) is a statewide public-private financing program that invests in new or expanding grocery stores and other healthy food retail outlets in communities throughout Pennsylvania. The FFFI provides one-time grants and loans to food retailers in order to increase access to healthy, affordable grocery food options and to improve economic opportunities for lower-income, underserved communities in urban, rural, and suburban areas across the state. Applications for financing will be evaluated and approved on a rolling basis while funds remain available.

 

John May Farm Safety Fund

The John May Farm Safety Fund has been established by the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH) for New York farmers needing financial help to improve safety on their farms. Awardees must meet these eligibility requirements: (1) resident of New York State; (2) active farmer (part-time or full-time); and (3) annual farm gross receipts are $10,000 - $349,999 or a dairy farm that has fewer than 700 milking cows. Awards may not exceed 50% of the estimated total cost of the project, with a maximum award amount of $5,000. Applications to the program may be submitted at any time. The number of awards and the award amount will be determined by NYCAMH on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

Small Grains Cost Share

Practical Farmers of Iowa is inviting farmers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin to apply for cost-share on small grains harvested in 2020 and followed by a legume-containing cover crop. Eligible small grains include barley, oats, rye, triticale, or wheat. A legume cover crop could be under- or co-seeded clover or alfalfa, or a summer-planted cover that includes hairy vetch or field peas. The cost share provides $25/acre on up to 100 acres per farmer for this combination of a main crop and cover crop on either conventional acres or those transitioning to organic. Cost-share funding is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

Community Facilities Program

USDA is making $150 million in grants available through the Community Facilities Program to help rural communities continue their recovery from the devastating effects of hurricanes, fires, and other natural disasters. The grants may be used for relief in areas affected by Hurricanes Michael and Florence, wildfires in 2018, and other natural disasters where the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has provided a notice declaring a Major Disaster Declaration and assigned a FEMA disaster recovery (DR) number. More than 100 types of projects are eligible for Community Facilities funding. Eligible applicants include municipalities, public bodies, nonprofit organizations, and federally recognized Native American tribes. Projects must be in eligible rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less. Grant applications will be accepted at USDA state offices on a continual basis until funds are exhausted.

 

Virginia Agricultural Best Management Practices Cost-Share Program

Virginia's governor has announced that $73 million is available this year to protect water and soil health through the Virginia Agricultural Best Management Practices Cost-Share Program. The cost-share program is a partnership between the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and Virginia's 47 soil and water conservation districts. The cost-share program supports the use of various practices in conservation planning to treat cropland, pastureland, hay land, and forested land. Individuals, partnerships, trusts, and other businesses operating farms in Virginia may qualify for cost-share assistance. Participant caps have been raised to $100,000. Producers can visit their local district office for information and to apply. The program year runs July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020. Funding is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

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