VHCB’s Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program Announces Grant Opportunities For Farmers
For immediate release
August 24, 2017
Contact: Ela Chapin, Viability Program Director, VHCB 802-828-2117; Ela [at] vhcb.org
The Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program, a program of the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, announced today 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. VHCB is administering State of Vermont capital construction and state bonding act funds for this program. The grants will assist with the costs of improvements required to comply with new regulations and are designed to complement existing federal and state grant programs that address soil health and 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 will be available on VHCB’s Viability Program webpage on September 1st, and the first of three upcoming deadlines will be October 13th, 2017.
Funding for the Dairy Improvement Grants comes from Ehrmann Commonwealth Dairy, LLC, whose Brattleboro plant produces Green Mountain Creamery Greek yogurt from Vermont milk. 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, where Commonwealth sources milk for its yogurt production facility. Dairy Improvement Grants application materials will be available on VHCB’s Viability Program webpage on September 1st.
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.