Rural Energy Grants, Small Grant Deadline Oct. 31

Provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements.

Who may apply?

  • Agricultural producers with at least 50% of gross income coming from agricultural operations, and
  • Small businesses in eligible rural areas.
    NOTE: Agricultural producers and small businesses must have no outstanding delinquent federal taxes, debt, judgment or debarment.

What is an eligible area?

  • Businesses must be in an area other than a city or town with a population of greater than 50,000 inhabitants and the urbanized area of that city or town. Check eligible business addresses.
  • Agricultural producers may be in rural or non-rural areas.

How may the funds be used?
Funds may be used for renewable energy systems, such as:

    • Biomass (for example: biodiesel and ethanol, anaerobic digesters, and solid fuels)
    • Geothermal for electric generation or direct use
    • Hydropower below 30 megawatts
    • Hydrogen
    • Small and large wind generation
    • Small and large solar generation
    • Ocean (tidal, current, thermal) generation

Funds may also be used for the purchase, installation and construction of energy efficiency improvements, such as:

  • High efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC)
  • Insulation
  • Lighting
  • Cooling or refrigeration units
  • Doors and windows
  • Electric, solar or gravity pumps for sprinkler pivots
  • Switching from a diesel to electric irrigation motor
  • Replacement of energy-inefficient equipment

What funding is available?
Loan guarantees on loans up to 75% of total eligible project costs
Grants for up to 25% of total eligible project costs
Combined grant and loan guarantee funding up to 75% of total eligible project costs

What are the grant terms?
Renewable Energy System Grants:
$2,500 minimum; $500,000 maximum

Energy Efficiency Grants:
$1,500 minimum; $250,000 maximum

Are there additional requirements?

  • Applicants must provide at least 75% of the project cost if applying for a grant only.
  • Applicants must provide at least 25% of the project cost if applying for loan, or loan and grant combination.
  • Projects greater than $200,000 require a technical report.
  • Energy efficiency projects require an energy audit or assessment.

Contact us for more information. To learn more about GFA please visit our website, http://gfa.tc

Rural Energy Grants, Small Grant Deadline Oct. 31

Michigan County Fair Grants, Deadline Feb. 1

A competitive grant opportunity for Michigan’s county fairs is now open. The grant offers dollars to make building and other capital improvements to fairground facilities. Grants are also available to other entities (such as associations or other organized events) hosting fairs or livestock/commodity expositions.

The capital improvement program provides additional funds for county fair officials to help make needed improvements to their fairground facilities; including, but not limited to, structural improvements or other renovations to buildings.

The submitted grants will go through a competitive grant process and will be reviewed by an evaluation committee.

Eligible applicants include:

  • fairs that are incorporated under Act 80 of 1855
  • county-owned and operated fairs operating under Act 11 of 1929 that have submitted all required year-end reports for the prior two years
  • fairs that did not receive a competitive capital improvement grant for the grant period of April 1 through December 31, 2017

The shows and expositions grant provides financial support for awards in the form of premiums or promotional activities of the livestock and commodity expositions. Livestock expositions hosting expos must meet the required number of exhibitors.

The application deadline for these programs is Feb. 1, 5 pm. Contact us for more information. To learn more about GFA please visit our website at http://gfa.tc.

 

Michigan County Fair Grants, Deadline Feb. 1

Food Processing Grants, Deadline Nov. 7

The Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) is offering a
grant opportunity to promote the expansion of value-added agriculture production,
processing, and access within the state to enhance Michigan’s food and agriculture
industry.

MDARD will accept proposals that are intended to establish, retain, expand, attract
and/or develop value-added agricultural processing in Michigan; expand or develop regional food systems; or expand access to healthy food.

Funding Areas
Funding will be focused on the following types of projects:
Food hub development
Food access, including access to fresh/nutritional foods
Value-added food processing
Innovation and equipment
Technical assistance, including feasibility studies that lead to jobs/investment
Outreach and training

Grant Criteria
Grants will be awarded a maximum amount of $125,000. Applicants must provide a minimum 30% match.
Cash match is required, and in-kind contributions will not be counted as part of the required match.

Proposals are due Nov. 7. Contact us for more information on this grant program. To learn more about GFA visit our website at http://gfa.tc.

Food Processing Grants, Deadline Nov. 7

Ag Marketing Grants, Deadline May 12

FSMIP provides matching funds on a competitive basis to assist eligible entities explore new market opportunities and to encourage research and innovation aimed at improving the efficiency and performance of the U.S. agricultural marketing system. The 2016 allocation for grants is approximately $1 million.

Proposals may focus on addressing barriers, overcoming challenges or realizing opportunities manifesting at any stage of the marketing chain including direct, wholesale, and retail. Proposals must have a strong marketing focus, must involve research, and the primary beneficiaries must be agricultural producers and agribusinesses. Proposals that involve training or education programs must include a research component that tests the effects of the program on the marketing goals. Proposals may involve small, medium or large scale agricultural entities but should benefit multiple producers or agribusinesses. Proposals that benefit one agribusiness or individual will not be considered.Proposals that address issues of importance at the State, multi-State, or national level are appropriate for FSMIP.

Of particular interest are proposals that reflect a collaborative approach between the States, academia, the farm sector and other appropriate entities and stakeholders. FSMIP will also consider unique proposals on a smaller scale that may serve as pilot projects or case studies useful as models for others. Such proposals should include an objective to analyze opportunities and formulate recommendations with regard to how the project could be scaled up or expanded to other regions.

Eligible applicants are state governments or public/state universities. Contact us for more information. To learn more about GFA visit our website at http://gfa.tc.

Ag Marketing Grants, Deadline May 12

Local Food Promotion Grants, Deadline May 14

Approximately $13 million in competitive grant funds in fiscal year (FY) 2015 is available for award through the Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP).  LFPP offers grant funds with a 25% match to support the development and expansion of local and regional food business enterprises to increase domestic consumption of, and access to, locally and regionally produced agricultural products, and to develop new market opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local markets.

Eligible entities may apply if they support local and regional food business enterprises that process, distribute, aggregate, or store locally or regionally produced food products. Such entities may include agricultural businesses, agricultural cooperatives, producer networks, producer associations, community supported agriculture networks, community supported agriculture associations, and other agricultural business entities (for-profit groups); nonprofit corporations; public benefit corporations; economic development corporations; regional farmers’ market authorities; and local and tribal governments.

Two types of project applications are accepted under LFPP—planning grants and implementation grants. Applicants can apply for either but will receive only one type of grant in the same grant cycle.

LFPP Planning Grants are used in the planning stages of establishing or expanding a local and regional food business enterprise. Activities can include but are not limited to market research, feasibility studies, and business planning. A minimum of $5,000 and a maximum of $25,000 will be awarded for any one proposal, and the grants must be completed within a 12 month period.

LFPP Implementation Grants are used to establish a new local and regional food business enterprise, or to improve or expand an existing local or regional food business enterprise. Activities can include but are not limited to training and technical assistance for the business enterprise and/or for producers working with the business enterprise; outreach and marketing to buyers and consumers; and non-construction infrastructure improvements to business enterprise facilities or information technology systems.

A minimum of $25,000 and a maximum of $100,000 will be awarded for any one proposal, and the grants must be completed within a 24 month grant period. Contact us for more information!

Eligible Applicants:

1. Agricultural Business. A business entity that provides, holds, delivers, transports, offers, or sells agricultural products or services.

2. Agricultural Cooperative. A group-owned or member-owned entity or business that provides, offers, or sells agricultural products or services for the mutual benefit of their members.

3. Producer Network. A producer group- or member-owned organization or business that provides, offers, or sells agricultural products or services through a common distribution system for the mutual benefit of their members.

4. Producer Associations. An organization or other business that assists, represents, or serves producers or a producer network.

5. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Network. A formal group of farms that work collectively to offer consumers regular (usually weekly) deliveries of locally-grown farm products during one or more harvest season(s), often on a subscription or membership basis. Customers have access to a selected share or range of farm products offered by the group of farmers based on partial or total advance payment of a subscription or membership fee.

6. CSA Associations. An organization or other business that assists or serves, represents, or services CSAs or CSA networks.

7. Local Government. Any unit of government within a state, including a county; borough; municipality; city; town; township; parish; local public authority, including any public housing agency under the United States Housing Act of 1937; special district; school district; intrastate district; council of governments, whether or not incorporated as a nonprofit corporation under state law; and any other agency or instrumentality of a multi-, regional, or intra-state or local government.

8. Nonprofit Corporation. Any corporation, trust, association, cooperative, or other organization, not including IHEs, that: (a) is operated primarily for scientific, educational, service, charitable, or similar purposes in the public interest; (b) is not organized primarily for profit; and (c) uses net proceeds to maintain, improve, or expand the operations of the organization.

9. Public Benefit Corporation. A corporation organized to construct or operate a public improvement, the profits from which inure to the benefit of a State(s) or to the people thereof.

10. Economic Development Corporation. An organization whose mission is the improvement, maintenance, development and/or marketing or promotion of a specific geographic area.

11. Regional Famers Market Authority. An entity that establishes and enforces regional, State, or county policies and jurisdiction over State, regional, or county farmers markets. 12. Tribal Government. A governing body or a governmental agency of any Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community (including any native village as defined in section 3 of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, 85 Stat. 688 (43 U.S.C. § 1602)) certified by the Secretary of the Interior as eligible for the special programs and services provided through the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Local Food Promotion Grants, Deadline May 14

Farmer’s Market Promotion Program, Deadline June 20

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The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has announced the availability of approximately $15 million in competitive grant funds in fiscal year (FY) 2014 to be awarded through the Famers Market Promotion Program. The Farmers’ Market Promotion Program (FMPP) is a component of the Farmers Marketing and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP), which is authorized by the Farmer-to-Consumer Direct Marketing Act of 1946, as amended (7 U.S.C. 3005). The FMPP is a competitive grant program administered by the Marketing Services Division (MSD) of AMS.

The goals of FMPP grants are to increase domestic consumption of and access to locally and regionally produced agricultural products, and to develop new market opportunities for farm and ranch operations serving local markets by developing, improving, expanding, and providing outreach, training, and technical assistance to, or assisting in the development, improvement, and expansion of domestic farmers’ markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs, agritourism activities, and other direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities. The minimum FY2014 FMPP award per grant is $15,000 and the maximum is $100,000. An applicant is limited to no more than one grant in a grant-funding year. FMPP funding will be available for use beginning in October 2014. Project work should begin in October 2014 and end not later than October 2016. Matching funds are not required.

Eligible applicants:

  1. Agricultural Business. A business entity that provides, holds, delivers, transports, offers, or sells agricultural products or services.
  2. Agricultural Cooperative. A group-owned or member-owned entity or business that provides, offers, or sells agricultural products or services for the mutual benefit of the members thereof.
  3. Producer Network. A producer group- or member-owned organization or business that provides, offers, or sells agricultural products or services through a common distribution system for the mutual benefit of the members thereof.
  4. Producer Associations. An organization or other business that assists or serves, represents, or serves producers or a producer network.
  5. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Network. A formal group of farms that work collectively to offer consumers regular (usually weekly) deliveries of locally-grown farm products during one or more harvest season(s), often on a subscription or membership basis. Customers have access to a selected share or range of farm products offered by the group of farmers based on partial or total advance payment of a subscription or membership fee.
  6. CSA Associations. An organization or other business that assists or serves, represents, or services CSAs or CSA networks.
  7. Local Government. Any unit of government within a State, including a county, borough, municipality, city, town, township, parish, local public authority, special district, school district, intrastate district, council of governments, or other instrumentalities of local government.
  8. Nonprofit Corporation. Any organization or institution, including nonprofits with State or IRS 501 (c) status and accredited institutions of higher education, where no part of the net earnings of which inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual.
  9. Public Benefit Corporation. A corporation organized to construct or operate a public improvement, the profits from which inure to the benefit of a State(s) or to the people thereof.
  10. Economic Development Corporation. An organization whose mission is the improvement, maintenance, development and/or marketing or promotion of a specific geographic area.
  11. Regional Famers Market Authority. An entity that establishes and enforces regional, State, or county policies and jurisdiction over State, regional, or county farmers markets.
  12. Tribal Government. A governing body or a governmental agency of any Indian tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community (including any native village as defined in section 3 of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, 85 Stat. 688 (43 U.S.C. § 1602)) certified by the Secretary of the Interior as eligible for the special programs and services provided through the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Contact us for more details!

Farmer’s Market Promotion Program, Deadline June 20

County Fair Grants, Deadline Nov. 15

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) announced a competitive grant opportunity for Michigan’s county fairs to make building and other capital improvements to their fairground facilities.  Grant proposals must be received by MDARD no later than Friday, November 15, 2013.

The grants will range from $1,000 to $20,000 and will require a dollar-for-dollar cash match from the county fair.  This grant program provides additional access to funds for county fair officials to help make needed improvements to their fairground facilities; including but not limited to structural improvements or other renovations to buildings.

The submitted grants will go through a competitive grant process and be reviewed by an evaluation committee.

Eligible applicants include fairs that are incorporated under Act 80 of 1855 or county owned and operated fairs operating under Act 11 of 1929 and county fairs that have submitted all required year-end reports for the prior two years.

County Fair Grants, Deadline Nov. 15

Rural Business Opportunity Grants, Due June 24

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Estimated Program Funding: $2.6 million
Maximum Grant Amount: $100,000
Cost Sharing Requirement: None

Eligibility

Public bodies, nonprofit corporations, Indian tribes, institutions of higher education, and rural cooperatives are eligible to apply.

Uses

Grant funds must be used for projects in rural areas and they can be used for:

  •    Community economic development
  •    Technology-based economic development
  •    Feasibility studies and business plans
  •    Leadership and entrepreneur training
  •    Rural business incubators
  •    Long-term business strategic planning

The RBOG program promotes sustainable economic development in rural communities with exceptional needs through provision of training and technical assistance for business development, entrepreneurs, and economic development officials and to assist with economic development planning.

Rural Development is participating in the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP), which is a new Administration-wide initiative that will accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing and help cultivate an environment for businesses to create well-paying manufacturing jobs in regions across the country. The IMCP is designed to reward communities that demonstrate best practices in attracting and expanding manufacturing by using long-term planning that integrates targeted investments in workforce training, infrastructure, research, and other key assets.

The IMCP is being initiated in FY 2013 as EDA, USDA, SBA and EPA each provide funding for regional implementation strategy grants. The agencies will allocate funding through existing programs to advance this critical national priority. Strategies developed by these grants, as well as existing strategies and those otherwise under development, will enhance regions’ efforts to compete for future proposed large scale IMCP grants (10 to 100 times the size of the implementation strategy grants). These grants will be given to communities with the best strategies for attracting private investment. IMCP partner agencies will coordinate funding across agencies in order to leverage complementary activities while also preventing duplication of efforts.

Contact us for more information!

Rural Business Opportunity Grants, Due June 24

Community Food Projects, Deadline Nov. 28

Community Food Projects should be designed to (1): (A) meet the food needs of low-income people; (B) increase the self-reliance of communities in providing for their own food needs; and (C) promote comprehensive responses to local food, farm, and nutrition issues; and/or (2) meet specific state, local, or neighborhood food and agriculture needs for (A) infrastructure improvement and development; (B) planning for long-term solutions; or (C) the creation of innovative marketing activities that mutually benefit agricultural producers and low-income consumers.

Proposed projects should seek comprehensive solutions to problems across all food system levels, not just short-term food relief. This point is emphasized because some previously submitted proposals were denied funding because they were designed primarily for expanding efforts in food relief and assistance, or for connecting established or partially established programs (such as community gardens and farmers’ markets), with little evidence of strategic planning and participation by stakeholders. Proposals should emphasize a food system and/or food security approach and show evidence of information sharing, coalition building, and substantial outreach and linkages to the community.

The USDA and several other federal agencies offer programs that may help strengthen the impact and success of CFPs. These include:

  •     Food recovery and gleaning efforts;
  •     Connecting low-income urban consumers with rural food producers;
  •     Helping citizens leave public assistance and achieve self-sufficiency; and
  •     Using micro-enterprise and/or development projects related to community food needs.

Only private, nonprofit entities meeting the following three requirements are eligible to receive a CFP or PP grant: (a) have experience in the area of (i) community food work, particularly concerning small and medium-size farms, including the provision of food to people in low-income communities and the development of new markets in low-income communities for agricultural producers; or (ii) job training and business development activities for food-related activities in low-income communities; (b) demonstrate competency to implement a project, provide fiscal accountability, collect data, and prepare reports and other necessary documentation; and (c) demonstrate a willingness to share information with researchers, evaluators, practitioners, and other interested parties, including a plan for dissemination of results.

Estimated Total Program Funding:     $5,000,000
Cost Sharing or Matching Requirement:     Yes

Contact us for more information!

Community Food Projects, Deadline Nov. 28

Stop by and say hi at the Small Business Showcase this Wednesday!

We’re very happy to say that we’re a TC Chamber 2012 Small Business of the Year nominee. We hope you’ll take a minute this Wednesday afternoon (5:30-7:30 pm) to stop by the Hagerty Center and say hi. Admission is free and you can get a look at the other great nominees as well.

http://tcchamber.org/leadership-development/transform-your-organization/small-business-celebration/

We hope to see you there!

In the meantime, today’s featured grant is the Farm to School program.

The MI Farm to School Grant Program awards Michigan K-12 schools/districts with funds ($2,000 maximum each) to plan for or implement farm to school programs. With funding from the WK Kellogg Foundation, this program is coordinated by the MSU Center for Regional Food Systems, formerly the C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems. The application period for the second grant year (September 1, 2012 – June 1, 2013) is now open! Applications are due by 5 pm EST on Friday, May 4, 2012.

  • The MI Farm to School Planning Grant helps K-12 schools and Pre-K programs plan for integrating fresh, local foods into cafeterias AND ultimately develop a Farm to School Action Plan to implement a farm to school program.

    Examples of ways funding may be used include but are not limited to the following:

    • Meeting expenses for gathering farmers, food service professionals, students, parents, community members, etc.
    • Trainings/learning opportunities (i.e. fresh food prep, knife skills, seasonal menu planning, etc.) in addition to those required for grantees
    • Fees associated with attending conferences related to farm to school, local agriculture, food systems, etc.
    • Costs associated with co-learning opportunities, student engagement, school wellness committee engagement, etc.
    • Purchase of kitchen or cafeteria equipment (up to $500) to help prepare and serve fresh, local produce
  • The MI Farm to School Implementation Grant helps schools put existing farm to school plans into action AND ultimately develop a Farm to School Sustainability Plan to keep a farm to school program going and growing in future years.

    Examples of ways funding may be used include but are not limited to the following:

    • Purchase of kitchen or cafeteria equipment, resources or materials that will help to increase the use of local foods in the school food service program
    • Purchase of fresh, local food products to use in the school food service program
    • Costs associated with co-learning opportunities, student engagement, school wellness committee engagement, etc.
    • Marketing materials for fresh, local foods in school cafeterias (i.e. posters, line tags, etc.)
    • On-going training or learning opportunities for food service staff to utilize fresh, local foods

Eligibility:

  • The school food service program must have at least 50% free and reduced-price meal enrollment at the time this application is completed. A goal of this program is to help vulnerable children find more local, healthy food choices in school meals programs.
  • Only school food service/nutrition directors can apply for their school district(s) or school(s). Food service directors from a school district may choose to focus on a few school buildings or an entire school district’s food service program, but the district must have 50% free and reduced price meal enrollment. Private or charter schools may apply as an individual school.
  • Only one application for either the planning or implementation grant (not both) is allowed per pre-K program, school or district per grant year.
  • Pre-K and early childcare programs are eligible only for planning grants. The program must be eligible to receive Tier 1 reimbursement rates for at least 50% of program participants (as indicated by current Child and Adult Care Food Program eligibility) to apply. Private or charter school and early childcare programs servicing children from birth-5 may apply as individual grantees. Childcare programs solely contracting with a school/district for all meals programs must apply in partnership with the school/district food service/nutrition director.

Contact us for more details!

Stop by and say hi at the Small Business Showcase this Wednesday!