Resources for Working Lands Businesses During the Pandemic

  • Notice of COVID Response & Recovery Services: 

    To support the resilience and long-term success of Vermont’s producers, the Viability Program is offering coaching to support businesses with urgent needs related to COVID-19. For more information, see our COVID Response & Recovery Support page.

    COVID RELIEF FUNDING & RESOURCES:

    Vermont

    • Viability Program COVID Business Coaching
      • Business coaching support on a variety of topics related to navigating COVID impacts.
      • May include: navigating relief programs, financial/cash flow planning, navigating marketing/sales transitions, and more.
    • VT Utility Assistance
      • Currently available for renters as part of the state rental relief program.
      • Utility assistance will be available to homeowners through the upcoming VT Homeowner Assistance Program.  
    • Vermont Homeowner Assistance Program (HAP)
      • Upcoming program that provides funding to eligible Vermont homeowners to prevent home foreclosure and homeowner displacement. This can include assistance with overdue mortgage payments, homeowners association fees, property taxes, and/or utilities.
      • Applications are NOT currently available, but homeowners can check eligibility and sign up for updates here.
    • EMBRACE Microbusiness Grant
      • $5,000 grants available for businesses with 5 or fewer employees and household income at or below 80% of Vermont's median household income. Funding is on a first come first served basis.
      • Grants will also be available to start-up businesses opened after Dec. 31st, 2020 
      • Applications currently available. Eligibility and application info at: https://mbdp.org/embrace-grant 
    • Vermont Community Loan Fund - Recovery Loan
      • The Vermont Recovery Loan Fund provides financing to businesses and organizations, both for- and nonprofit, that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
      • Applicants must demonstrate revenue loss, temporary business shutdown, or an increase in expenses due to COVID-19 impacts to be eligible. Loans from $5,000 to $75,000 are available, with rates generally 0% for the first two years, and then fixed at 3%. Loans are available until funds are exhausted.

    Federal

    • USDA Pandemic Volatility Assistance Program - Dairy
      • Funding will be provided to dairies directly through cooperatives, which apply for funds on behalf of members. All efforts are being made to ensure producers receive their payments by the end of December 2021.
    • USDA Farm & Food Worker Relief Program
      • Organizations may apply to deliver relief payments to farm and food workers (Deadline 2/8/21).
      • This relief is intended to defray costs for reasonable and necessary personal, family, or living expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as costs for personal protective equipment (PPE), dependent care, and expenses associated with quarantines and testing related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
      • More info to come on what organization/s may serve this region.

     

    ADDITIONAL  RESOURCES:

    • VT Farm & Forest Viability Program Water Quality Grants
      • Grants up to $40,000 are available through VHCB's Farm & Forest Viability Program for on-farm, capital improvements that will benefit water quality.
      • Any farm with a gross income at least $15,000 or that is required to comply with Vermont's Required Agricultural Practices is eligible to apply. 
      • If you or a farmer you know is interested in applying, please contact Aaron Guman at Aaron@vhcb.org for more information.
      • DUE: Jan. 21, 2022
    • Vermont Family Farmer of the Month Award
      • Each month, this fund makes an award of $10,000-12,000 to a Vermont family farmer for a project that will improve farm viability.
      • Awards recognize farmers whose businesses are contributing to a resilient agricultural landscape and demonstrate environmental stewardship & innovation
      • Learn more and apply at vermontfamilyfarmeraward.org
      • Deadline: Jan. 26, 2022 for March, April, May & June awards.
    • VT Pay for Phosphorus Program (VPFP)
      • VPFP is a new outcomes-based program from the Water Quality division of VAAFM.
      • VPFP will provide performance-based payments to Vermont farmers for reductions in phosphorus losses from their agricultural fields.
      • Farmers have the flexibility to implement whichever conservation practices they know will work for their own operations each year. $4.9M is available for farms across four years.
      • Learn more at: https://agriculture.vermont.gov/VPFP
      • Application Deadline: Jan. 31, 2022
    • VT Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets Funding Calendar
      • A variety of VAAFM grants and resources available throughout the year.
    • NOFA-VT Marketing Support
      • Marketing technical assistance (TA) is available for farmers that sell through at least one direct-to-consumer market channel.
      • This TA is designed to meet farmers' marketing needs and can take many forms such as: creation/ revision of marketing plans, website updates, implementation of online ordering systems, brand development, creation/revision of your farms' messaging/storytelling, and analysis of your cost of sales by market channel and pricing strategy.
      • Apply using this link. Contact: Bill Cavanaugh at @email or (802) 434-7154.
    • Herd Management Webinar Series from UVM Extension

      • UVM Extension presents a webinar series for dairy farm owners and managers interested in improving their bottom line through changes in management practices. 
      • In these sessions, UVM Extension Dairy Business specialists will give an overview of the free, on-farm technical assistance available to Vermont dairy farmers. Topics include: herd management, such as forage inventory, herd management software, and how to understand forage analyses.  
      • Webinar dates: Jan. 19, Feb. 16, and Mar. 15, 12pm to 1 PM
      • REGISTER HERE or contact Whitney Hull at  @email
    • VT Farm Fund Loan
    • Farm First
      • Services to support farmers & family members experiencing a variety of challenges that cause stress; free of cost.
    • Value-Added Forest Products Permitting Assistance Grant
      • VT Dept. of Forests, Parks and Recreation has a grant available to pay for expenses associated with State and local permit application fees, project consultation costs, engineering and siting costs, and expert witness testimony necessary for permitting. Grants can pay for up to 50% of project costs and range from $500 to $5,000.
    • Viability Program Referral Guide
      • This Referral Guide provides details about the program and how to connect a farm, food, or forest entrepreneur with our services. It also includes links to resources for businesses who may not yet be a fit for the Viability Program's two-year advising program.