Grant programs are available on private, local, state and federal levels. Grants are typically available for only short periods of time and often for very specific activities.
The Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program (RCDG)
This grant will make up to $5.8 million available to Rural Cooperative Development Centers, which in turn, provide technical assistance to individuals and entities improving the economic condition of rural areas by supporting start-up, expansion or operational improvement of rural cooperatives and other business entities. Cooperatives have often been the mechanism used by small and midsized producers to work together to access new markets or market value added products. In 2013, business and cooperative funding through Rural Development helped 17,773 rural businesses, including 4,200 farmers and 4,472 small businesses. These investments created or saved over 41,600 jobs. Under the 2014 Farm Bill USDA will be creating an Interagency Working Group to improve coordination of programs and services between federal agencies and national and local cooperatives through the RCDG program.
Information about how to apply is on the Rural Development website at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_RCDG.html
Specialty Crops Grant Program
Each state that submits an application is reviewed and approved by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is to receive at least an amount that is equal to the higher of $100,000, or 1/3 of 1 percent of the total amount of funding made available for the fiscal year. In addition, AMS will allocate the remainder of the grant funds based on the value of specialty crop production in each state in relation to the national value of specialty crop production using the latest available cash receipt data.
Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture procedures for grant selection are posted on the Specialty Crop link. In accordance with USDA-AMS suggested method for proposal selection; a competitive process is embraced and overseen by an appointed Advisory Board.
Eligible Applicants and Projects
State and/or local organizations, producer associations, academia, community based organizations, and other specialty crops stakeholders are eligible to apply. SCBGP-FB grant funds will be awarded for projects of up to 2 years duration. Examples of projects aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of specialty crops include, but are not limited to: Increasing child and adult nutrition knowledge and consumption of specialty crops; participation of industry representatives at meetings of international standard setting bodies in which the U.S. government participates; improving efficiency and reducing costs of distribution systems; assisting all entities in the specialty crop distribution chains in developing “Good Agricultural Practices”, “Good Handling Practices”, “Good Manufacturing Practices”, and in cost-share arrangements for funding audits of such systems for small farmers, packers and processors; investing in specialty crop research, including organic research to focus on conservation and environmental outcomes; enhancing food safety; developing new and improved seed varieties and specialty crops; pest and disease control; and sustainability. SCBGP-FB funds shall be used for projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops and benefit the specialty crop industry as a whole. Grant funds will not be awarded for projects that directly benefit a particular commercial product or provide a profit to a single organization, institution or individual. Projects must enhance specialty crop industry competitiveness. Applications for grant funds should show how the project potentially impacts and produces measurable outcomes for the specialty crop industry and/or the public rather than a single organization, institution, or individual. For more information please visit the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's website.
Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG)
The primary objective of the VAPG program is to help agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of bio-based value-added products. Generating new products, creating and expanding marketing opportunities, and increasing producer income are the end goals of this program. You may receive priority if you are a beginning farmer or rancher, a socially-disadvantaged farmer or rancher, a small or medium-sized farm or ranch structured as a family farm, a farmer or rancher cooperative, or are proposing a mid-tier value chain, as defined in the Program Regulation. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis.
Closing Date: February 24, 2014
Estimated Program Funding: Approximately $10.5 million in carry over funding from fiscal year (FY) 2013 is available to help agricultural producers enter into value-added activities. The NOFA is being published prior to the Congressional enactment of a full-year appropriation for FY 2014. Should additional funding be made available during FY 2014 for this program, the Rural Business-Cooperative Service, (RBS) will continue to fund applications received under this announcement based upon the applications score. At this time, the exact amount of funding that will be made available to this program for FY 2014 is unknown. Anyone interested in submitting an application for funding under this program should consult the Rural Development Value Added Producer Grant Program website periodically for updated information regarding any FY 2014 funding for the Program.
Maximum Grant Amount: $75,000 for planning grants; $200,000 for working capital grants Cost Sharing Requirement: Cash or eligible in-kind matching funds equal to at least the amount of grant funds requested.
Please visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_VAPG.html for more information and feel free to use these tools for additional assistance:
Organic Cost Share Program
Organic crop and livestock producers in the state of Pennsylvania can be reimbursed for a percentage of their certification costs.
Organic crop and livestock producers in various states, including the state of Pennsylvania, can be reimbursed as much as 75 percent of their certification costs from October 1 through September 31 of the current year, up to a maximum of $750. This program is not competitive; $1.425 million is available for farmers and ranchers in various states.
- How to Get Reimbursed
- Contact your State’s department of agriculture (or its equivalent) for an application.
- Assemble the following supporting documentation: proof of USDA organic certification, itemized invoice showing expenses paid for certification
Cost Share Application - 2017 CSY
Cost Share Letter - 2017 CSY
Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) / Good Handling Practices (GHP) Cost Share Program
This program provides direct financial support through cost sharing of applicable certification fees to producers and processors who successfully complete a USDA GAP or GHP audit.
Any business or individual located in Pennsylvania that successfully completes one initial USDA (GAP) or (GHP) audit is eligible to apply.
The cost share program is designed to help defray some of the costs related to a successful audit.
NRAC Funding Under Mini-Grant Program
The Northeast Regional Aquaculture Center (NRAC) supports research, extension education, development, and demonstration projects aimed at increasing aquaculture production, profitability, and processing. The NRAC comprises the geographical region of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington D.C., and West Virginia. Qualified individuals within the region associated with any state agricultural experiment station, college, university, other research institution or organization, federal agency, private organization or corporation are eligible to participate.
There is approximately $20,000 available yearly from NRAC to fund relevant and selected projects within the mini-grants program. NRAC will fund projects for up to one year with total funding of up to $20,000 per request. Successful proposals are expected to receive funding within 3 months of the application deadline. NRAC expects to fund between one or two projects within each normal annual round of competition per year. Mini-grant funding priorities (described on page 4) are established at Industry and Technical committee meetings sponsored by NRAC. Targeted research, extension, and demonstration areas are reviewed by NRAC's Technical and Industry Advisory Council (TIAC) and are ultimately approved by NRAC’s Board of Directors and USDA, NIFA.