Additional Funding Opportunities

Below is a list of third-party resources which may be useful to the Vermont agricultural community. A listing on this page does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Agency of Agriculture. Please contact Faith.Raymond@vermont.gov at the Agency of Agriculture with any additions or corrections. 

 

The Carrot Project

The Carrot Project offers loan programs and technical assistance for farm, forestry and fishery businesses as well as food system enterprises such as those in production, processing, storage, distribution and sales. Funds can be used for working capital, capital needs such as equipment or buildings, or other improvements for production or value-added enterprises. 

Community Capital of Vermont (CCVT)

CCVT is a statewide small business and microenterprise lender serving low and moderate income entrepreneurs and specializing in providing loans to business owners who lack the collateral or credit history to qualify for traditional bank loans. Loans range in size from $1,000 to $100,000 and can be used for business start-up or growth and expansion. 

Efficiency Vermont 

Efficiency Vermont is the nation’s first statewide energy efficiency utility.  Through education, services, and incentives, we advance sustainable energy solutions for all Vermont homeowners and businesses. We offer technical assistance, standard rebates, custom incentives, and financing specifically for agricultural energy efficiency projects. To learn more about how Efficiency Vermont can help with your ag energy projects, visit us online HERE or give us a call: (888) 921-5990.

Flexible Capital Fund

The Flex Fund is the first of its kind in Vermont to be strategically focused on providing near equity or mezzanine financing (subordinated debt, royalty financing and/or warrants) to Vermont’s growing value-added ag, forestry and clean energy businesses.  In keeping with our mission, the Flex Fund invests in targeted Vermont growth companies that fill a gap, or strengthen the supply chain, in sustainable agriculture and food systems, forest products, renewable energy and other natural resource sectors. Our goal is to help our portfolio companies accelerate the rate at which Vermont and the region moves towards healthy food systems, renewable energy and climate change solutions - while preserving Vermont’s working landscapes and ensuring the health of our communities. www.flexiblecapitalfund.com

Food System Financing Inventory

This inventory from the Farm to Plate Strategic Plan lists publicly funded and alternative funding sources available to Vermont's food system.

Fresh Source Capital

Fresh Source Capital is an investment firm focused on sustainable food and agriculture and rebuilding local, regional food systems by providing debt and royalty financing options to growth-stage companies in the Northeast.

Fund-a-Farmer Project

The Fund-a-Farmer Project, a project of Food Animal Concerns Trust, awards grants and facilitates peer-to-peer farmer education to increase the number of humanely-raised animals.

Green Thumbs at Work Garden Grants

The Vermont Department of Health and Vermont Community Garden Networkin partnership with Charlie NardozziBlue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont, and Gardener’s Supply, are offering grants for small businesses to establish workplace food gardens for their employees.

The Green Thumbs at Work grants are open to any Vermont business or organization with fewer than 50 employees.  The total grant award is $1,750, which includes $500 for materials, a $250 Gardener’s Supply gift certificate, and $1,000 of garden planning support and technical assistance from horticulturalist Charlie Nardozzi and the Vermont Community Garden Network. Find application information HERE.

Kiva Zip

Kiva Zip supports small farmers and agriculture by providing access to capital through crowdfunded, interest-free loans and by giving farmers a platform to share their story and products. Read more about Kiva Zip here

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

NSAC publications help producers and organizations navigate federal funding opportunities and technical assistance programs. Publications include the Grassroots Guide to Federal Farm and Food Programs; Farmers' Guide to Applying for the Value-Added Producer Grant Program; Farmers' Guide to the Conservation Stewardship Program; and Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches and Communities.

Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC)

Serving parts of Maine, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont (Caledonia, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille and Orleans Counties), the NBRC’s focus is to help address the community and economic development needs of the most severely distressed portions of the Northern Forest region such as transportation and basic infrastructure; job skills training and entrepreneurial development; comprehensive strategy development; advanced technologies and telecommunications; and sustainable energy solutions. To learn more about the NBRC grant program, visit the link above or contact the Vermont Agency of Commerce at (802) 828-5236.

Northern Community Investment Corporation (NCIC)

Serving Northern New Hampshire & Northeastern Vermont, NCIC develops lending solutions for everything from small start-ups to large well-established businesses. Loans range from $5,000–$500,000 with interest rates from 4%–12%. NCIC also supports borrowers with resources and coaching solutions and can often cost share with businesses to make professional services more affordable.

Regional Development Corporations of Vermont

The Department of Economic Development provides administrative funding to our twelve Regional Development Corporations (RDCs) serving every geographic region of the state. These organizations serve as “satellites” of the Department, and they provide local knowledge and facilitate assistance in their communities. 

Addison County Economic Development Corporation (ACEDC) is the resource for navigating challenges and opportunities of doing business in Addison County. Our dedicated team works with many types of businesses, from value-added agriculture to manufacturing and service companies. We also work with businesses in all stages of growth, from pre-venture start-ups to established businesses and global corporations. Our primary objective is to create and retain a flourishing business community that supports vibrant fiscal activity and improves the quality of life of all residents. ACEDC is your connector to the resources and solutions your business needs to thrive. 

The Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC), is a private, nonprofit economic development organization that serves as a catalyst for industrial and commercial growth throughout Southeastern Vermont, including Windham County and the towns of Readsboro, Searsburg, Weston, and Winhall. The primary objective of the BDCC is to create and retain a flourishing business community that supports vibrant fiscal activity, and improves the quality of life of all its residents.

Central Vermont Economic Development Corporation (CVEDC) is one of twelve non-profit regional development corporations in the State of Vermont. We were organized in 1976 to provide impetus for the region’s economic development. We have an Executive Director, Sam Andersen and a Director of Development, Jennifer Surat. We have a 35 member volunteer Board of Directors comprised of local business owners, State representatives, lenders and municipal officials. Our office is co-located with a VT Small Business Development Center Advisor, David Rubel in Montpelier. Our funding primarily comes from the State of Vermont, municipalities and business members that pay annual dues.

Created in 1971, Franklin County Industrial Development Corporation (FCIDC) is a private, non-profit development corporation sponsored by the State of Vermont and Franklin County businesses and municipalities. The mission of FCIDC is to strengthen our economy through the creation and retention of new jobs and build a business environment suitable to host capital investment.

Since 1954, the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation (GBIC), has strengthened the economy of Vermont’s Chittenden County and improved the quality of life for area residents by creating and retaining sustainable jobs and economic opportunities within the region and the state. As the certified non-profit economic development corporation serving Chittenden County, GBIC is dedicated to implementing our vision: a thriving Lake Champlain region with an economic environment providing meaningful employment consistent with an uncompromised natural environment, enabling present and future generations of Vermonters to live, learn, work, and play in the Champlain Valley.
GBIC strives to attract, retain, and expand environmentally sensitive high-paying jobs in the Champlain Valley; and to initiate and support advocacy, education, and collaborative programs in promoting our Vision

Building businesses, economies and communities. Green Mountain Economic Development Corporation serves 30 towns in East Central Vermont. Our region is home to a wide variety of businesses including large scale manufacturing, research and development, technology and artisan products.

The Lake Champlain Islands Economic Development Corporation (LCIEDC) is the Island resource for doing business in Grand Isle County. Located right in the center of the Champlain Islands, LCIEDC is a one-stop shop for business advising, access to resources, and people who are connected to the community.
Our objective is to create and retain vibrant businesses. We will connect you to the resources and people you need for your businesses to thrive.
The Lamoille Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) is a private non-for-profit corporation sponsored by Lamoille County businesses and municipalities as well as the State of Vermont. Our Mission is to strengthen the county’s economy through facilitating the creation and expansion of jobs and businesses and investing for the prosperity of Lamoille County communities. Our services are available to all businesses in all commercial sectors whether they are existing businesses looking to expand, start-ups or businesses seeking to relocate to Lamoille County.
The Northeast Kingdom is known for its pastoral landscapes, year-round fun and honest people. The Northeastern Vermont Development Association serves the 55 municipalities in this northeastern corner of Vermont as the Regional Planning Commission. We assist with regional and municipal land use and Transportation Planning. NVDA also serves the businesses in the Kingdom and encourages sustainable economic growth as the Regional Economic Development Corporation.

The mission of the Rutland Environmental Development Corporation is to use collaboration, creativity and ingenuity to recruit talent and businesses of all kinds, grow and retain employers, and promote a healthy and vibrant commercial and residential real estate market. We believe economic development is a team sport, capitalizing on fun, fresh ideas, passionate people, and open, inventive partnerships.

The Springfield Regional Development Corporation is a private, non-profit regional development corporation serving ten towns in Southern Windsor County Vermont. SRDC's mission is to help companies create and sustain employment in our region. Primary interest is in the creation of manufacturing and other value-added jobs.

Slow Money Vermont

Slow Money Vermont is an emerging network that aims to inform, inspire and connect individuals, businesses, philanthropists, and investors interested in building a sustainable local and regional food system and to catalyze new investment opportunities in the people, businesses and communities that contribute to a sustainable food economy.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

AMS administers programs that create domestic and international marketing opportunities for U.S. producers of food, fiber, and specialty crops. AMS funding supports a variety of programs, including organic certification cost-share programs and efforts to expand farmers' markets and other local food sources. 

The CFPCGP funds projects to meet the food needs of low-income individuals through food distribution; community outreach; improving food access and nutrition; and meeting state, local or neighborhood food and agricultural needs.

         The Farm Service Agency, a program of the USDA, provides additional programs, services and information to agricultural communities. 

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food helps communities scale up local and regional food systems and strengthen their economies. This page lists over two dozen programs at USDA that can help build local and regional food systems.

Also known as the Section 2501 Program, this program provides grants to institutions and nonprofits working with minority and veteran farmers and ranchers.

NRCS offers financial and technical assistance to help agricultural producers make and maintain conservation improvements on their land through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Conservation Stewardship Program, and Agricultural Management Assistance Program.

SARE offers competitive grants to projects that explore and address key issues affecting the sustainability and future economic viability of agriculture.

Rural Development offers loans, grants and loan guarantees to support essential services and offers technical assistance and information to help agricultural producers and cooperatives get started and improve the effectiveness of their operations. Programs include—but are not limited—to the following:

  • Rural Business Development Grants, a competitive program designed to support targeted technical assistance, training and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging private businesses in rural areas that have fewer than 50 employees and less than $1 million in gross revenues.
  • The Rural Energy for America Program provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses to purchase or install renewable energy systems or make energy efficiency improvements
  • Value Added Producer Grants help agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and/or marketing of bio-based, value-added products.

Start2Farm.gov is a database of programs and resources for beginning farmers and ranchers in the United States. The Start2Farm site and program are a project of the National Agricultural Library in partnership with the American Farm Bureau Federation. Start2Farm is funded through a USDA, National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Beginning Farming and Ranching Development Program grant and was developed to assist people new to farming or ranching and those who have less than 10 years experience.

Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation 

The Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation (VACC), a program of Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA), is a nonprofit corporation that provides credit to Vermont farmers, agricultural facilities, forestry, and forest product-based businesses. VACC and VEDA work with these businesses on everything from startup to expansion to making energy efficiency improvements. VAAC and VEDA help these businesses secure the financing needed to start a business, strengthen existing operations, encourage diversification, and to encourage marketing and processing of Vermont agricultural and forestry products.

Vermont Barn Preservation Grant Program

The Vermont Barn Preservation Grant program helps individuals, farms, municipalities, and non-profit organizations repair and restore historic agricultural buildings. Annually, the Division for Historic Preservation, in cooperation with the Legislature and the Vermont Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, awards competitive 50/50 matching grants of up to $15,000. Barns must be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places to qualify for funding. Preservation of our historic agricultural buildings not only protects Vermont’s architectural legacy, it also generates jobs, supports independent businesses, increases civic participation and bolsters a community’s sense of place while enhancing the experience of visitors. The Barn Preservation Grant program is funded through the annual Capital Appropriations and State Bonding Act.

For more information, contact Caitlin Corkins at 802-828-3047 or caitlincorkins@vermont.gov or visit our website.

 

Vermont Clean Diesel Grant Program

Funding is available from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for on-road and non-road projects, including vehicle replacement, replacement or retrofitting the engine, and other projects.  In some cases, 40% of the project cost can be grant-funded.

The RFP and Application are available at the Vermont Business Assistance Network (http://www.vermontbidsystem.com/BidPreview.aspx?BidID=17813 ).  Additional grant details can be found on the DEC’s webpage (http://dec.vermont.gov/air-quality/mobile-sources/diesel-emissions/vt-clean-diesel-grant ).

Please contact Kim McKee at (802) 477-3349 or at kimberley.mckee@vermont.gov with any questions. 

 

VT Community Development Program

The Vermont Community Development Program (VCDP) assists communities on a competitive basis by providing financial and technical assistance to identify and address local needs in the areas of: housing, economic development, public facilities/services and handicapped accessibility modifications.

 

Vermont Community Loan Fund (VCLF)

VCLF is a community-focused alternative lender and also provides financial consulting and business development services:

  • Business Loan Program: VCLF works with businesses of all shapes, sizes and ages, ranging from start-up to mature, small farms to specialty foods, renewable energy to high-tech, manufacturers to service providers to retail.
  • Agritourism Loan Program: VCLF's Agritourism Loan Program is a revolving loan fund focused on supporting agricultural enterprises with low-cost capital for agritourism projects.
  • The Food, Farms & Forests Fund: In 2015, VCLF launched this new, dedicated loan fund to consolidate, grow, and sustain the capital and supporting services that VCLF makes available to meet the needs of small farms, food producers, and the working landscape throughout Vermont. 

Vermont Employment Growth Incentive (VEGI)

The State of Vermont offers an economic incentive for business recruitment, growth and expansion. The Vermont Employment Growth Incentive (VEGI) program can provide a cash payment, based on the revenue return generated to the State by prospective qualifying job and payroll creation and capital investments, to businesses that have been authorized to earn the incentive and who then meet performance requirements.

 

Vermont Grass Farmers Association (VGFA) Mini Grants

VGFA Mini Grants of $500–$1,000 support on-farm research led and designed by farmers.

Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund

The Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF) provides early stage grant funding, technical assistance, and loans to entrepreneurs, businesses, farmers, networks and others interested in developing jobs and markets in the green economy. This page provides information about VSJF’s Peer to Peer Collaborative, the Vermont Agricultural Development Program, and additional partners and resources.

Vermont Training Program (VTP)

VTP provides performance based workforce grants for: pre-employment training, training for new hires and incumbent workers.  Training can either be on-site or through a training provider/vendor.  Grants may cover up to 50% of the training cost.

Windham County Economic Development Program (WCEDP)

The WCEDP promotes economic development in Windham County by providing funds to stimulate job creation through business start-up, expansion, or relocation; encourage entrepreneurial activity; and strengthen economic development infrastructure. Program funds are available through direct low-interest loans for businesses, competitive grants for nonprofit organizations and municipalities, and non-competitive grants and incentives. 

Yankee Farm Credit

Yankee Farm Credit strives to make a positive difference serving the agricultural community by offering reliable, cost-effective services and assuring cooperative viability.