Rural Energy for american Grants and the new Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP)

This week we are featuring the Rural Energy for American Program Grants that are due soon and the new Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP) that was established in the farm bill. The LAMP program will provide permanent funding for the Value Added Producer Grants, and the Farmers Market & Local Food Promotion Program Grants which is great news for farmers and agribusiness in Kentucky.

We still don’t know when the Value Added Producer Grant or the Farmers Market & Local Food Promotion Program grants will open but if you are thinking about applying, now is a good time to start working on the application process.

Rural Energy for America Program -  Grants and Guaranteed Loans

Deadline:  April 1, 2019 and Fall 2019 – Applications are accepted year round  
Funding Amount:  $1,500 to $500,000 (25% of the total project cost) 
Eligible Entities:  Farmers and rural businesses 
Links:  https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-energy-america-program-energy-audit-renewable-energy-development-assistance 
Overview:  USDA Rural Development offers REAP grants and grant/loan combos to help agricultural producers and rural businesses install renewable energy systems and do efficiency upgrade projects. A grant only application can pay up to 25% of total project costs. A grant/loan combo can fund up to 75% of total project costs. Guaranteed loan only applications do not have an application or funding deadline to be processed. Some project examples include: lighting efficiency, heating efficiency, bio-energy, solar energy, and dairy ventilation upgrades. An energy assessment or audit is required as part of the application process so if you are interested,  you need to inquire as soon as possible. 

Value-Added Producer Grants

Deadline: Currently closed
Funding Amounts: Planning - up to $75,000; Working Capital - up to $250,000. Dollar to dollar match required. 
Eligible Entities: Agricultural producers and producer groups
Links: http://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/value-added-producer-grants
Overview: The Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program is a great opportunity for farmers looking to add value to their raw agricultural commodities. The most popular methods to add value are: change in physical state (think milk to cheese, cow to steak, berries to jelly); marketing it locally (premium for local products); and produced in a manner that enhances value (think organic or sustainable). These grants require a dollar-for-dollar match, but some of the match can be met with in-kind contributions. Successful applicants must show how they will increase their sales and expand their customer base with the project funds.

Farmers Market Promotion Program Grants

Deadline: Currently closed
Funding Amounts: A minimum of $50,000 up to $500,000 per grant - no match required!
Eligible Entities: Agricultural businesses, agricultural cooperatives, community supported agriculture (CSA) networks, CSA associations, economic development corporations, local governments, nonprofit corporations, producer networks, producer associates, public benefit corporations, regional farmers’ market authorities, and Tribal governments.
Links: http://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/fmpp and  https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/fmpp/awards
Overview: The Farmers Market Promotion Program provides grants for innovative projects to promote new market opportunities for direct producer-to-consumer sales. The purpose/objectives of the FMPP grant program are "to increase domestic consumption of and access to locally and regionally produced agricultural products and to develop new marketing opportunity for farm operations serving local markets by developing, improving, and providing outreach, training, and technical assistance." The funds can pay for a broad range of activities including advertising, marketing campaigns, personnel, education, training, outreach, and some equipment. The earlier you start the process, the better application you can prepare!

Local Food Promotion Program Grants

Deadline: Currently closed
Funding Amounts: Up to $500,000 per grant - 25% match required!
Eligible Entities: Agricultural businesses, agricultural cooperatives, community supported agriculture (CSA) networks, CSA associations, economic development corporations, local governments, nonprofit corporations, producer networks, producer associates, public benefit corporations, regional farmers’ market authorities, and Tribal governments.
Links: https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/lfpp and  https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/lfpp/awards 
Overview: The Local Food Promotion Program can be used for planning or working capital to support businesses or organizations that act as an intermediary between producers and consumers as part of the supply chain by aggregating, storing, processing, and/or distributing local food products. 

  • Planning Grants are designed to help agricultural businesses and local communities conduct feasibility studies, do market research, and develop business plans to determine the viability of local and regional business enterprises. Planning grants must be completed within an eighteen-month time frame. 

  • Implementation Grants are designed to provide technical support and to help expand new local and regional food enterprises and/or to improve and grow the abilities of existing local or regional food enterprises. LFPP grants must be completed in a three-year time frame.