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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. See the 2021 grant application 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. In order to be considered a priority for the next funding cycle submit an application no later than the July 23rd deadline.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 Produce Safety Improvement Program (AFSIP) is to support produce 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. AFSIP 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 in most cases, or up to $200,000 specifically to fund the new construction, retrofitting, or expansion of a commercial washing and packing facility. These grants are typically offered annually, and last year’s application deadline was September 30, 2022.
The Climate Smart Agriculture Program (CSAP)
The Climate Smart Agriculture Program combines the Agricultural Climate Resiliency & Efficiencies (ACRE) Grant, the Traditional Ag-Energy Program Grant (ENER), and the Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program Grant (AEEP). Proposals will be considered that will help the agricultural sector reduce vulnerability to expected climate change effects (adaptation); that mitigate climate change by reducing, avoiding, and/or removing emissions and improving economic resiliency (mitigation); or that will fund energy efficiency or renewable energy projects.
Proposals for projects that work towards both adaptation and mitigation will be a priority for funding. Proposals for projects that improve soil management, improve water use efficiency and availability, promote efforts to reduce or limit greenhouse gas emissions or to enhance greenhouse gas sequestration including post-harvest infrastructure upgrades, or that improve energy efficiency and facilitate clean energy adoption will all be considered. Maximum funding per applicant is $50,000. This funding can cover up to 80% of total adaptation or mitigation project costs, or up to 80% of total agricultural energy project costs.
The CSAP grant is broken into two sections:
Applicants can apply to either, 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, and last year’s application deadline was June 10, 2022.
APR Improvement Program (AIP)
Provides funding, technical assistance, and business planning to farms with land that has been protected through the Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program. The program assists with issues of economic viability, environmental sustainability, resource conservation, ownership control, modernization of infrastructure and other issues that may enhance the long term continued use of the agricultural resource. Grants capped at $60,000-$125,000 with a 20% required match are available primarily for identified capital improvements that will support or enhance the APR farm property. These grants are typically offered annually, with the application deadline in spring.
Farm Viability Enhancement Program
Offers grants capped at $75,000-165,000 for farmers environmental, technical, and business planning assistance to expand, upgrade, and modernize existing operations. Capital to implement improvements recommended in the viability plan is available in exchange for an agricultural covenant on the farm property for a fixed term of 10-15 years. Farmer-friendly application and process. These grants are typically offered annually, with the application deadline in spring.
Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program
This grant program funds projects that strengthen and improve the resiliency of the Commonwealth’s food system while allowing greater access to fresh, local food in a way that addresses 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. Grants will be awarded up to a maximum of $500,000, and each entity may submit only one application. The grant submission deadline is typically late winter. Learn more here.
Massachusetts Food Ventures Program
This program provides grants of up to $250,000 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. For questions regarding the RFR, applicants can email Rose.Arruda@mass.gov. These grants are typically offered annually, with the application deadline in late spring. Last year’s application can be found here.
Matching Enterprise Grants Program (MEGA)
This program is designed to help with business expansion on new and beginning farms. MEGA will provide technical assistance and business planning help, and then will provide up to $10,000, $20,000, or $30,000, based on the number of years the farm has been in business, minimum gross income, and whether the farm has received a prior MEGA award. Funding provided from this Program will be made available on a one-to-one matching grant basis. These grants are typically offered annually, with the application deadline in spring.
Stewardship Assistance and Restoration on APRs (SARA)
This program offers grants to clear or reclaim inactive fields that have been protected under the Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) Program and that are currently out of production through no fault of the current owner. Examples of eligible projects include clearing vegetation, pulling rocks or stumps, 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, educational and health institutions, non-profits, and municipalities to leverage collective resources and support commercial projects designed to increase the production, processing, and marketing of produce grown and sold in urban centers across Massachusetts. Their purpose is to promote strategies to address food insecurity and to increase access of fresh, local produce in urban neighborhoods with a high concentration of low-moderate income residents. These grants fund long-term capital expenses such as infrastructure upgrades, land acquisition, or equipment purchases. Grants for community garden projects are capped at $15,000, grants for commercial urban agriculture projects are capped at $50,000, and grants for land acquisition are capped at $100,000. The program does not offer funding to community/private gardens in which food is produced for personal consumption. A 25% match is required for all land requests and other requests that exceed $15,000. For questions regarding the RFR, applicants can email Rose.Arruda@mass.gov. These grants typically are offered annually, with the application deadline in late spring. Last year’s application can be found here.
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 $250,000 to businesses of all sizes, and Express Program Training Grants, which offer grants up to $30,000 per company per calendar year and $3,000 per employee per course to businesses with no more than 100 employees.