Massachusetts Government Grants

For an overview of MDAR grants with example projects, see this story map.

Agricultural Composting Improvement Program (ACIP)
These grants help agricultural composters improve their management of their composting operations and facilitate on-farm compost use. The program awards grants of up to $75,000 (or 75% of total project costs) and can fund a range of new equipment or facility upgrades, including screeners, spreaders, turners, mixers, windrow covers, compost pads, and more. These grants are typically offered annually, with the deadline in late summer. One example of a recent request for responses is here.

Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program
The Program purchases the non-agricultural value of the farmland in exchange for a permanent deed restriction which prevents uses and activities that may impact the present or future agricultural use and viability of the property. Through purchases of Agricultural Preservation Restrictions, the APR Program preserves and protects agricultural land, including designated farmland soils, which are a finite natural resource, from being built upon for non- agricultural purposes or used for any activity detrimental to agriculture. Applications will be considered for funding through the APR Program and the federal USDA Agricultural Lands Easement (ALE) Program. The program accepts applications on a rolling basis and projects are evaluated on a quarterly basis.To learn more about the APR program and for program eligibility go online to APR Program Details. See the application here.

Agricultural Food Safety Improvement Program (AFSIP)
The goal of the Agricultural Food Safety Improvement Program is to support produce and aquaculture operations that are looking to improve their on-farm food safety practices to help minimize the risk of microbial contamination and food-borne illnesses, to meet regulatory requirements under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), and to increase competitive market access by meeting buyer demands for demonstrated practices that work towards protecting public health and food safety. This is a competitive, reimbursement grant program that funds projects for up to 80% of total project costs. Applicants can request funding of up to $50,000. These grants are typically offered annually, with the deadline in spring.

The Climate Smart Agriculture Program (CSAP)
The Climate Smart Agriculture Program combines what used to be three separate grant programs — the Agricultural Climate Resiliency & Efficiencies Grant, the Ag Energy Program Grant, and the Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program Grant — into one grant program. The CSAP grant is broken into two sections:

  • Section I: Environment – Projects to safeguard natural resources, mitigate climate change, or help farms address vulnerabilities to expected impacts from climate change.
  • Section II: Energy – Projects for farm energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

Applicants can apply to either, or both sections. As the sections are reviewed separately, there is an opportunity to be funded under one or both sections. Participants selected for funding under either section are provided with reimbursement grants for 80% of total project costs up to $50,000. These grants are typically offered annually, with the deadline in spring.

APR Improvement Program (AIP)
These grants are available to farms with land that has been protected through MDAR’s Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) program. The program provides business planning, technical assistance, and grants to help sustain active commercial farming on the land. Participants selected to participate in the program may be offered grant funds of $90,000-$150,000, with a 10% match required, for capital infrastructure improvements on the farm identified through the program’s planning process. These grants are typically offered annually, with the application deadline in spring.

Farm Viability Enhancement Program
These grants are available to established farms that have been in operation for >3 years and that have >5 acres in active production The program provides one on one business planning assistance and technical assistance in areas of need such as family succession, marketing, or financial tracking to help increase farm viability. Participants selected to participate in the program may be offered grant funds of $100,000-$200,000 for identified farm improvement projects in return for signing an agricultural covenant on the farm property to keep it in agricultural use for a 10- or 15-year term.  These grants are typically offered annually, with the application deadline in spring.

Farmers Market Sustainability Grant Program
This grant program started in 2024 and provides grants of up to $15,000 to Massachusetts farmers’ markets with the goal of enhancing these markets through marketing, promotion, consumer education, planning, and infrastructure. These grants will likely be offered annually, with the application deadline in fall.

Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program 
This grant program – now administered by MDAR – funds projects that strengthen and improve the resiliency of the Commonwealth’s food system while allowing greater access to fresh, local food and addressing systemic inequities.
Eligible applicants include farms, farmers’ markets, distributors, institutions, small grocery stores, value-added producers, and other local food organizations. Grant funds can be used for capital improvements and/or the purchase of durable equipment, including the costs of any contracted labor needed in order to implement the improvements or install equipment; funds can also be used to pay for planning capital projects. Grants will be awarded up to a maximum of $500,000, on a reimbursement basis. Note that applicants requesting over $25,000 are now required to demonstrate a 25% cash match. These grants will likely be offered annually, with the application deadline in spring.

Massachusetts Food Ventures Program
This program provides grants of up to $250,000 to individuals or entities with experience developing and supporting commercial food businesses. The purpose of the grants is to support food ventures that are sited primarily in or near communities of low or moderate income and will improve access to Massachusetts-grown food products through the development of collaborations with local agricultural enterprises and private/public entities. Key areas for investment include: food processing infrastructure to meet the needs of the expanding local food system; improved distribution systems to support opportunities for equitable access to fresh local food; and retail outlet strategies that enhance access to healthy food. These are reimbursement grants with a required 50% match. These grants are typically offered annually, with the application deadline in June.

Matching Enterprise Grants Program (MEGA)
These grants are available to assist beginning farmers who have been in operation between one and ten years by providing technical assistance (including a mentorship option) and business planning assistance. Grant funds of up to $10,000, $20,000, or $30,000 may be available – with a 50% cash match required – to pay for equipment, infrastructure, or other capital improvements to implement strategies identified during the planning process to help their business grow. These grants are typically offered annually, with the application deadline in spring.

Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Grant Program (RFSI) 
This is a federally funded USDA program that is administered by the MA Department of Agricultural Resources and started in 2024. It funds middle-of-the-supply-chain activities, including processing, aggregation, and distribution/delivery, but not production or marketing. Farms, non-profits, processors, aggregators, and distributors are all eligible to apply for funding for projects to improve their handling of local farm products (specifically excluded products include: meat and poultry, animal feed and forage, fiber, landscaping products, and tobacco; flowers are eligible but will score lower due to the food system focus). There are two categories of grants available:

  • Infrastructure grants, up to $500,000, can fund a variety of activities and equipment and require a 50% cash or in-kind match (or 25% for historically underserved farmers).
  • Equipment-only grants, up to $100,000, can fund any individual pieces of equipment that cost $5,000 or more each (note that they cannot fund related expenses such as installation) and have no match requirement.

These grants will likely be offered annually, with the application deadline in late winter or early spring.

Stewardship Assistance and Restoration on APRs (SARA)
This program offers grants to restore inactive farmland back into active commercial agricultural use or to restore resources for increased agricultural production on existing APR farmland. Applicants must not have been the original owner of the property when the land was placed under the APR unless the proposed restoration is in response to damage caused by a natural disaster or third party. Leasing farmers (including future heirs with leases) are also eligible. Examples of eligible projects include clearing vegetation, stabilizing soil loss, correcting drainage issues, cutting back grown in field edges, or reseeding or applying soil or crop amendments to inactive cropland or pastureland in order to bring it back into production. Grant awards can cover up to 85% of total project costs, up to $35,000. These grants are typically offered annually, with the application deadline in early spring.

Urban Agriculture Program
This program offers grants to established urban farmers (with >3 years of experience), public educational and other institutions, and municipalities to support commercial urban food production and community-based food production. These grants can fund long-term capital expenses such as infrastructure upgrades, land acquisition, or equipment purchases. Grants for community garden projects are capped at $20,000; grants for commercial urban agriculture projects are capped at $50,000; and grants for land acquisition are capped at $150,000. A 25% match is required for all land requests and other requests that exceed $15,000. These grants typically are offered annually, with the application deadline in late spring.

Workforce Training Fund
The Workforce Training Fund Program (WTFP) provides resources to Massachusetts businesses to fund training for current and newly hired employees. In order to qualify, businesses must pay into the Fund; all for-profit companies automatically pay into the fund, and some non-profit organizations do as well. A wide range of types of training can be funded, with the caveat that courses that a company is legally mandated to provide (such as OSHA training) are not eligible for funding under this program. Two types of grants are available through the Workforce Training Fund: General Program Training Grants, which offer grants of up to $200,000 to businesses of all sizes, and Express Program Training Grants, which offer grants up to $20,000 per company per calendar year and $3,000 per employee per course to businesses with no more than 100 employees.

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