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

This grant program funds projects projects that address
the agricultural sector’s vulnerability to climate change,
improve economic resiliency, and advance general
goals identified in the Massachusetts Local Action Food Plan. 
Reimbursement grants are awarded on a competitive basis.

For more information, visit the ACRE Program webpage. 

Application Deadline: Applications must be received by mail or hand delivered by 4:00pm on November 16, 2018.

Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program (AEEP)

This grant program funds materials and labor for conservation practices. This reduces negative impacts from agricultural practices, and preserves the state's natural resources.

For more information, visit the AEEP Program webpage. 

Application Deadline: Not currently accepting applications

Agricultural Energy Grant Program

This grant program funds agricultural energy projects to improve energy efficiency. Many Massachusetts farms have already adopted alternative energy methods.

For more information, visit the ENER Program webpage. 

Application Deadline: Not currently accepting applications

Farm Financial Assistance Programs

Dairy Farmer Tax Credit Program

This grant program offers registered Massachusetts dairy farms a state income tax credit. This credit is based on production for any month in which the farm price of milk falls below a trigger price. This program was created to offset the cyclical downturns in milk prices paid to dairy farms.

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

Farm Energy Discount Program

This program provides discounts on electricity and natural gas bills. Discounts are 10% to eligible entities engaged in production agriculture. Certification by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) is required. MDAR must approve eligible persons or corporations.

For more information, visit the FEDP webpage

GAP/GHP Reimbursement 

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

Any grower located in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that applies must complete the USDA GAP/GHP or Harmonized audit.

Eligible parties may apply for reimbursement to cover the cost of the audit if they are successful.

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.

Farms and food companies must be inspected and certified to receive funds. Parties receiving renewal of certification may be eligible.

For more information, visit the Organic Cost Share Program webpage

Rollover Protective Structure (ROPS) Retrofit Program  

7 out of 10 farms are out of business within five years of 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 injuries.

This grant 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, shipping charges, tax, professional installation costs, and a sun canopy. You can buy and install the ROPS kit (rollbar and seatbelt) as well as any of the previous items.

Farm Improvement Grants

The grants will open for application in winter of 2018.

Agricultural Food Safety Improvement Program (AFSIP)

This grant program supports practices that help facilities operations reduce food safety risks. At the same time, farms may maintain or increase their market access. Participants selected for the program will be reimbursed up to $25,000 or 75% of their total project costs.

Application Deadline: This program is not currently accepting applications.

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: This program is not currently accepting applications.

APR Improvement Program (AIP)

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

For more information, visit the AIP webpage

Application deadline: This program is not currently accepting applications.

Stewardship Assistance and Restoration on APRs (SARA)

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

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: This program is not currently accepting applications.

 

Grants for New Farms

Matching Enterprise Grants for Agriculture Program (MEGA)

This grant program assists beginner farmers with business assistance and grants. help ensure the success of their farm business.

The maximum grant award is $10,000. We offer one-to-one matching, cost reimbursement for farm equipment or infrastructure improvements.

For more information, visit the MEGA webpage

Application deadline: This program is not currently accepting applications.

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 in low or moderate income communities. This includes Gateway Cities and rural communities. Participants selected by 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

This grant program advances agricultural goals and objectives of Massachusetts. The program funds 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

This grant program strengthens the marketing potential of agricultural businesses and products. It is a campaign across Massachusetts.

For more information, visit the Buy Local program webpage. 

Dairy Promotion Board Grant

The Board works with the MDAR to seek proposals for projects that advance Massachusetts dairy products. This includes the image, sales, and demand for dairy.

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

Federal State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP)

This program funds research projects that address challenges and opportunities in the sale of agricultural products. This includes marketing, transportation, and distribution.

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.

 

Agriculture Preservation Restriction (APR) Program

This grant program protects productive farmland by purchasing deed restrictions. This makes land more affordable to farmers, which revitalizes the agricultural industry.

The program works to bolster the state’s $550,000,000 agricultural industry by keeping farms in active commercial use. We signal to the industry that we support our farmers and encourage a strong and viable agricultural economy.

For more information, visit the APR Program Objectives & Benefits page.

 

Agricultural Composting Improvement Program (ACIP)

This grant program funds projects and equipment to facilitate composting best management practices, use of compost for agricultural purposes, and enhance overall management of agricultural composting operations. Reimbursement grants up to $50,000 will be awarded on a competitive basis.

For More information and an application, visit the Agricultural Composting Program website.

Application Deadline: November 9, 2018

Additional Resources for Agricultural Composting Improvement Program (ACIP)

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