Vermont Housing and Conservation Board 2011: Business Planning and Grant Opportunities for Agricultural Infrastructure Projects and Businesses

Thanks to funding from the Vermont Agricultural Innovation Center at the Agency of Agriculture, the Vermont Farm Viability Program is extending its business planning program to provide services to agricultural infrastructure businesses, including those that are involved in the processing, storage, marketing and/or distribution of agricultural products.

BUSINESS PLANNING & TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE: For Ag Infrastructure businesses

Enrollment period: January – April 2011, applications accepted on a rolling basis

COMPETITIVE GRANTS OPPORTUNITY: For Ag Infrastructure capital improvements

$60,000 in funding now available on a competitive basis!

Deadline: March 30, 2011

Thanks to funding from a private foundation, we are able to provide grants of up to $20,000 to assist agricultural infrastructure businesses in Vermont with the implementation of their business plans. Our goal is to support the development of local food systems, encourage business planning activities, and enhance the development of agricultural and local food infrastructure in Vermont. The program is open to all businesses that meet the eligibility requirements and particularly invites proposals for the following kinds of projects:

·         Slaughter and meat processing facility improvements and expansions

·         Workforce development, particularly in meat processing

·         Capital improvements related to food safety

·         Vegetable/fruit processing, storage, marketing and distribution projects

To be eligible, the business must:

·         Be primarily involved in the processing, storage, marketing, and/or distribution of local agricultural products;

·         Be located (preferably headquartered) in Vermont.

·         Be providing services to, or aggregating products from, at least five VT farm businesses; and

·         Have a business plan that meets our Program’s business plan guidelines and that supports the project for which funding is requested.

A preference will be made towards businesses that produce, store or distribute products primarily made with ingredients/products which are produced in Vermont or adjacent local areas, and businesses working to improve their ability to source local ingredients and/or products.

APPLICATIONS: Applications for grants as well as business planning and technical assistance will be available online in January at www.vhcb.org/viability.html .  Please contact Liz Gleason at the VT Housing and Conservation Board for further information or to enroll in our business planning program.

Liz Gleason, VHCB Farm Viability Program Assistant: egleason@vhcb.org or 802-828-3370

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