By Sonia Howlett, VT Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets
You may have or be interested in a water quality grant from the Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets. What does that process look like?
All Agency of Agriculture, Food and Market (AAFM) Water Quality grant applications are available on our website, at agriculture.vermont.gov/water-quality/assistance-programs. Deadlines occur throughout the year.
Applications for most of our grant programs can be completed online or printed and filled out before scanning or mailing to submit. Conservation District staff, AAFM field inspectors, Technical Service Providers and UVM Extension specialists may be able to assist you in finding and completing an application. Make sure you read all the program information and submit all required documentation!
Work with AAFM staff to submit any missing documentation, then wait (grant is reviewed)
If you are missing any components, you may be contacted and asked to submit those pieces within a certain time period. If you have not recently received a grant from AAFM, you will also be asked to submit a W9 in order to be entered into the state’s payment system. Any questions about how to complete this form should be directed to a tax accountant or advisor as AAFM personnel are not permitted to provide you with advice for how to complete this form.
All complete grant applications are reviewed by qualified personnel. Some of programs, like the Capital Equipment Assistance Program (CEAP) are always quite competitive. Others, like the Field Agronomic Practices (FAP) Program are first-come-first-served, but all are dependent on the budgets and program demand. AAFM staff will confirm that your organization and project meet eligibility criteria and that your farm is in “good standing” with the Agency.
Hear back and return signed grant, if awarded
AAFM staff will contact you to let you know about the status of your application. If you were not awarded a grant, you will receive a letter or email and will be encouraged to apply again the next year, if you are eligible.
If you have been awarded a grant, you will be sent a copy of the grant to sign, as well as a Good Standing Certificate to affirm that you are in good standing with the Agency. You must sign and return both documents to be eligible for payment. Many programs also require a Certificate of Insurance proving your valid liability and workers compensation insurance, while also listing the State of Vermont, its agents and employees as additional insured under your policy. Before applying for a grant, please read Attachment C: Standard State Provisions for Contracts and Grants, which contains grantee requirements for insurance coverage and other state regulations.
Purchase/Farm/Construct, and then Submit invoice/claim form
The next step in the process is to complete the project at hand for which you have an active grant agreement. Some programs will require that you submit an invoice or a claim form demonstrating that you have completed the practices, while other programs may require engineering oversight throughout construction. The reimbursement process will be detailed in your grant award and may differ between programs.
An AAFM staff member will reach out to you to let you know that they will come by to verify or certify your field/equipment/project. This allows us to document your conservation practice implementation. Some programs require a visit to occur before payment, while other programs may include visits that occur throughout your grant agreement.
If all the above is satisfactory, you will receive payment according to the terms of your grant agreement. Please keep in mind that the payment timeframe can vary widely from one program to the next. Some programs require all practices to be complete while others have the flexibility to provide partial payments. If you are not sure where your grant process is at, you should contact your grant manager to make sure you have submitted all required paperwork.
Some of our grants have longer term follow-up and reporting requirements. For example, CEAP grants require that you report the acres where you used that equipment for the first 3 years that you own it.
Most AAFM grant funding rounds are held annually and you can apply or re-apply every year.