First, the goals of the grant program is to generate new products, create and expand marketing opportunities, and increase producer income. Beginning farmers, socially-disadvantaged farmers, and a small to mid-sized farm structured as a family farm (along with a few other categories) may receive priority in funding.
Approximately $10.5 million is currently available. More funds may come available should additional funds be allocated to the program. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis. The maximum grant amount is $75,000 for planning grants and $200,000 for working capital grants.
Today, December 16th at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time, the USDA will hold a webinar about the program. The webinar will be recorded so it is likely that it will be available for viewing at a later date.
More information on the process for applying for the planning or working capital grants is here. Included in that information are templates for applying for a planning or working capital grant. If you’d like to read the announcement of funding in the Federal Register, you may do so here. A detailed fact sheet from the Center for Rural Affairs, including resources for help in completing the grant application, is here. The deadline for applications is February 24, 2014.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. We’re always happy to help.