Guide Agricultural Grants and Financial Assistance Programs

MDAR offers various grants and funding programs for agricultural projects. This guide provides an overview of each grant. You can view more information about each program by clicking on the link in the description.

Energy and Environment Grant Programs

Agricultural Climate Resiliency & Efficiencies (ACRE) Program

Grant program that funds projects that reduce the impacts of agriculture on climate change and enhances the economic resiliency of agricultural operations to projected changes in climate. Reimbursement grants up to $50,000 will be awarded on a competitive basis.

For more information, visit the ACRE Program webpage. 

Application Deadline: December 5th, 2017

Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program (AEEP)

Grant program that funds materials and labor for conservation practices that mitigate or prevent negative impacts to the state's natural resources that may result from agricultural practices.

For more information, visit the AEEP Program webpage. 

Estimated Application Deadline: Late Spring

Agricultural Energy Grant Program

This grant program funds agricultural energy projects in an effort to improve energy efficiency and the adoption of alternative energy by Massachusetts farms. 

For more information, visit the ENER Program webpage. 

The application period is closed.  We hope to release the next round of applications in late winter 2018. 

Farm Financial Assistance Programs

Dairy Tax Credit Program

The Dairy Farmer Tax Credit Program offers registered Massachusetts dairy farms a state income tax credit based on production for any month in which the farm price of milk falls below a trigger price. The program was implemented to offset the cyclical downturns in milk prices paid to dairy farms.

For more information, visit the Dairy Farmer Tax Credit Program page. 

Farm Energy Discount Program

The Farm Energy Discount Program provides discounts on electricity and natural gas bills of 10% to eligible entities engaged in production agriculture. Subject to certification by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources("MDAR" or "Department") persons or corporations determined to be principally and substantially engaged in the business of production agriculture or farming for an ultimate commercial purpose will, upon written application, be eligible for a ten percent discount on rates.

GAP/GHP Reimbursement 

This programs funds research projects that address barriers, challenges, and opportunities in marketing, transportation, and distribution of agricultural products.

Any grower located in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that schedules and successfully completes the USDA GAP/GHP or Harmonized audit will be eligible to apply for reimbursement to cover the cost of the audit.

Reimbursements will not be given for costs associated with a failed audit.

Contact Howie Vinton for more information: Howard.Vinton@state.ma.us, 617-626-1803.

Organic Cost Share

MDAR works with the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service to reimburse certified organic farmers and food processors up to 75% ($750 dollars maximum) of the total certification cost.

Funds are available to farms and food companies that are inspected and certified and/or inspected and receiving renewal of certification.

For more information, visit the Organic Cost Share Program page

Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS) Retrofit Program  

The program will rebate 70% of the cost of purchasing and installing the ROPS (up to $865 maximum rebate). Rebate funds are good towards the price of the ROPS kit (rollbar and seatbelt), shipping charges, tax, professional installation costs, if they so choose, a sun canopy if they so desire and purchase and install it at the same time they do the rollbar.

When 7 out of 10 farms are out of business within five years after a fatal tractor rollover, it makes sense to protect yourself, your family and your business. Rollover protective structures (ROPS) are 99% effective in preventing rollover deaths and serious injuries. Invest in a roll bar today.

Farm Improvement Grants

The grants will open for application in winter of 2018.

Agricultural Food Safety Improvement Program (AFSIP)

Grant program that supports practices that help the operation to maintain or to increase their market access while reducing food safety risks. Participants selected to participate in the program will be reimbursed up to $25,000 or 75% of their total project costs.

For more information, visit the AFSIP webpage

Farm Viability Enhancement Program (FVEP)

This grant program funds projects to help farms ensure success through the development and implementation of farm viability plans.

For more information, visit the FVEP webpage

Application deadline: April 10, 2018.

APR Improvement Program (AIP)

This grant program provides business and technical assistance and grants for infrastructure improvement projects on agricultural preservation restriction farms to help increase farm viability.

For more information, visit the AIP webpage

Application deadline: April 10, 2018.

Stewardship Assistance and Restoration on APRs (SARA)

This grant program funds projects on agricultural preservation restriction farms to restore farmland for agricultural use

Funding of up to $25,000, with a 15% match, may be available on a cost reimbursement basis for approved projects.

For more information, visit the SARA webpage

Application deadline: April 10, 2018.

 

Grants for New Farms

Matching Enterprise Grants for Agriculture Program (MEGA)

This program assists beginning farmers with business assistance and grants to help ensure the success of their farm business. The maximum grant award provided through this program is $10,000, available on a one-to-one matching, cost reimbursement basis for farm equipment or infrastructure improvements.

For more information, visit the MEGA webpage

Application deadline: April 10, 2018.

Grants to Improve Food Access

Massachusetts Food Trust Program

This grant program funds projects that increase access to healthy, affordable food options.

The application deadline is January 5th, 2018.

For more information, visit the Massachusetts Food Trust Program webpage. 

Massachusetts Food Ventures Program

This grant program funds projects that support food ventures, primarily in communities of low or moderate income, including Gateway Cities and rural communities. Participants who are selected to participate in the program will be reimbursed up to $500,000, and the minimum award is $100,000.

The application period for MFVP is now closed.  Applications for the next round of funding should become available early spring 2018.  

For more information, visit the Massachusetts Food Ventures Program webpage. 

Urban Agriculture Program

Funding through the program targets infrastructure needs, innovative food production, zoning ordinances, technical assistance, land acquisition, and youth leadership development.

The application period for the Urban Agriculture Program is now closed. Applications for the next round of funding should become available early spring 2018.  

For more information, visit the Urban Agriculture Program webpage. 

Marketing and Promotion Grants

The application period for these grants is now closed.  Applications for the next round of funding should become available early spring 2018.  

Buy Local Grant Program

The Buy Local program is a campaign that strengthens the marketing potential of agricultural businesses and agricultural products across the Commonwealth.

For more information, visit the Buy Local program webpage. 

Dairy Promotion Board Grant

The MA Dairy Promotion Board is soliciting proposals for projects that advance the image, sales of, and demand for Massachusetts dairy products. The Board is works with the MDAR to solicit proposals which meet one or more of these goals

For more information, visit the Dairy Promotion Board Grant webpage. 

Federal State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP)

This programs funds research projects that address barriers, challenges, and opportunities in marketing, transportation, and distribution of agricultural products.

For more information, visit the FSMIP webpage. 

Specialty Crop Block Grant

This program awards projects that increase sales of specialty crops. MDAR's review panel prepares the initial review and award recommendations to the USDA. The USDA is the funding entity and has the final approval of all projects.

For more information, visit the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program webpage.

 

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