Massachusetts Government Grants
Agricultural Food Safety Improvement Program
The purpose of AFSIP is to support produce operations that are looking to upgrade food safety practices within their operation. By enhancing food safety measures these operations are able to maintain or increase their market access while working towards minimizing the risk of microbial contamination and food-borne illnesses. This grant program is currently only open to produce operations. AFSIP is a competitive, reimbursement grant program that funds projects for up to 75% of total project costs, up to $25,000. The next deadline for applications will be May 31, 2019.
Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program (AEEP)
The purpose of AEEP is to support agricultural operations that are looking to install conservation practices that prevent direct impacts on water quality, ensure efficient use of water, as well as address impacts on air quality. By providing reimbursement directly to agricultural operations that implement eligible projects that prevent, reduce or eliminate environmental impacts, the program achieves its purpose and goals of minimizing environmental impacts from these operations for the benefit of the Commonwealth. AEEP is a competitive, re-imbursement grant program that funds materials and labor for up to 85% of project costs, up to $25,000. The next deadline for applications will be May 31, 2019.
Agricultural Energy Grant Program
The purpose of the MDAR’s Ag-Energy Grant Programs is to assist agricultural operations in an effort to improve energy efficiency and to facilitate adoption of alternative clean energy technologies in order that they can become more sustainable and the Commonwealth can maximize the environmental and economic benefits from these technologies. Reimbursement grants of up to $30,000 will be awarded on a competitive basis for the Ag-Energy Traditional Grant Program, while reimbursement grants up to varying amounts by category will be awarded on a competitive basis for the six specific categories under Ag-Energy Special Projects. The next deadline for applications will be May 31, 2019.
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 $25,000-$100,000 are available primarily for identified capital improvements that will support or enhance the APR farm property. The next deadline for applications is May 7, 2019.
Farm Viability Enhancement Program
Offers grants capped at $25,000-125,000 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 five or ten years. Farmer-friendly application and process. The next deadline for applications is May 7, 2019.
Massachusetts Food Ventures Program
This program provides grants of $100,000-$500,000 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. The next deadline for applications is May 20, 2019.
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 for farm improvement strategies. Funding provided from this Program will be made available on a one-to-one matching grant basis. The next deadline for applications is May 7, 2019.
Rollover Protective Structure Rebate Program
A new program for 2015 that will rebate 70% of the cost of purchasing and installing tractor retrofit equipment to prevent injuries in the event of a tractor rollover, up to a $865 maximum rebate.
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 $25,000. The next deadline for applications will be in Spring 2020.
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. The next deadline for applications is May 15, 2019.
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. Three 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; 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; and Small Business Direct Access Grants, which address small-scale training needs by making training slots available free of charge to businesses with no more than 100 employees.