Business Resources: Grants, Financing & Technical Assistance

This page lists resources available to the Vermont agricultural community. A listing on this page does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets.

Learn more about funding opportunities offered by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture.

Quick Links     A–E     F–G    N–S     USDA     V–Z
AgEnhancement Grants

Northeast agricultural credit associations and CoBank award grants ranging from $500 to $10,000 to help organizations promote awareness and strengthen agriculture, commercial fishing and forest products in the six New England states, New York and New Jersey. 

Barn Preservation Grant Program

The oldest state-funded agricultural-based grant program in the United States, the Barn Preservation Grant Program helps individuals, municipalities, and non-profit organizations to rehabilitate the historic agricultural buildings that are a symbol of Vermont’s rural landscape. Buildings must be at least 50 years old and listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. 

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. 

Diesel Emissions Reduction Grants

Vermont Diesel Emissions Reduction Grants provide technical assistance and incentive funding for projects that reduce diesel emissions from engines, vehicles, and equipment in Vermont with the goals of reducing public exposure to emissions from diesel-powered engines and the associated risks to public health and the environment.

Efficiency Vermont

Efficiency Vermont advances sustainable energy solutions for Vermont homeowners and businesses through 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—including agricultural equipment, dairy equipment, and maple sugaring equipment—visit the Agricultural Equipment page.

Flexible Capital Fund

The Flex Fund is 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. The 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.

Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT)

FACT offers welfare-oriented livestock and poultry farmers a suite of services designed to support, empower, and expand humane farming practices including grants, scholarships, free webinars, and an online community to connect with other farmers. 

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.

The FruitGuys Community Fund

Each spring, The FruitGuys Community Fund provides grants of up to $5,000 to small farms and agricultural nonprofits for sustainability projects that have large positive impacts on the environment, local food systems, and farm diversity such as projects that reduce water and power use, increase pollinators, improve soil health, promote natural pest control, or extend the growing season.

Green Thumbs at Work

The Vermont Department of Health and Vermont Community Garden Network, in partnership with Charlie NardozziBlue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont, and Gardener’s Supply, offer support services and grants for businesses and organizations to establish workplace food gardens for their employees.

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)

The NBRC is a Federal-State partnership for economic and community development in northern Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. Each year, the NBRC provides Federal funds for critical economic and community development projects throughout the northeast.

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 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. 

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) Programs
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Grants

USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) works to improve domestic and international opportunities for U.S. growers and producers. AMS grant programs support a variety of agricultural activities, including the specialty crop industry and local and regional food system expansion. Grant programs include, but are not limited to, the following:

USDA Community Food Projects (CFP) Competitive Grants Program

The CFP Competitive Grants Program awards funds to public food program service providers, tribal organizations, or private nonprofit entities, including gleaners. The primary goals of the CFP are to (1) meet the food needs of low-income individuals through food distribution, community outreach to assist in participation in Federally assisted nutrition programs, or improving access to food as part of a comprehensive service; (2) increase the self-reliance of communities in providing for the food needs of the communities; (3) promote comprehensive responses to local food access, farm, and nutrition issues; and (4) meet specific state, local or neighborhood food and agricultural needs.

USDA Farmers.gov

Farmers.gov provides farmers, ranchers, private foresters, and agricultural producers with online self-service applications, educational materials, engagement opportunities, and business tools to increase efficiency and productivity while preserving and fostering long-held traditional relationships between local USDA offices and producers.

USDA Farm Service Agency

The Farm Service Agency serves farmers, ranchers and agricultural partners through the delivery of effective, efficient agricultural programs.

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

NRCS Provides farmers, ranchers and foresters with financial assistance and technical advice to improve production, reduce input costs and conserve natural resources through the Environmental Quality Incentives ProgramConservation Stewardship Program, and Agricultural Management Assistance Program.

USDA New Farmers

Access the support and resources you need to begin farming, including opportunities for women to grow, learn from one another, and lead within their industries; for veterans looking to start farming; and for youth to discover new innovation at work in agriculture, support ag in schools, and get connected. Find the resources you need to get started or personalize your search with the Discovery Tool

USDA Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE)

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

USDA Outreach & Assistance For Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers

The Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Grant Program (also known as the “2501 Program”) funds projects that increase the equitable participation of socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers in USDA programs and assists in owning and operating profitable farms and ranches through agricultural programs and services provided by USDA.

USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA)

RMA serves agricultural producers through effective, market-based risk management tools, including Federal crop insurance and risk management education programs.

USDA Rural Development

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.
USDA Small and Mid-Sized Farmer Resources

Small and midsize producers provide new opportunities for American agriculture across the country. This page provides small and midsize producers valuable resources and program information about access to capital, land management and conservation practices, managing risk, finding local markets, and other educational resources.

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 Community Development Program (VCDP)

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.
  • 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 Farm & Forest Viability Program

The Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program offers business advising and grants to enhance the economic viability of Vermont farms and forestry enterprises.

  • Business Advising: Business planning and technical assistance for farm businesses of all sizes and sectors; food businesses that process, store, market, or distribute local agricultural products; and forest products businesses such as maple producers, consulting forestry firms, loggers, sawmills, craftspeople and wood manufacturers
  • Water Quality Grants: Grants of up to $40,000 to help Vermont farmers invest in water quality-related on-farm infrastructure
  • Dairy Improvement Grants: Grants of up to $40,000 offered on a competitive basis to Vermont dairy farm members of St. Albans Cooperative Creamery and Dairy Farmers of America to make on-farm improvements that have a positive impact on farm viability, milk production, or milk quality
Vermont Farm Fund

The Vermont Farm Fund is a revolving loan program of The Center for an Agricultural Economy that, in partnership with Pete's Greens, provides no-hassle, friendly-term loans to Vermont farmers and food producers.

Vermont Grass Farmers Association (VGFA) Mini Grants

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

Vermont Small Business Development Center

VtSBDC provides assistance and planning during all stages of a business's life cycle–from pre-venture to mature. Services include classes and workshops, one-on-one sessions, and a variety of resources such as templates for business plans and cash flow.

Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund

Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund (VSJF) accelerates sustainable economic development by providing business assistancevalue chain facilitationnetwork development, and strategic planning in agriculture and food systemsforest productswaste managementrenewable energy, and environmental technology.

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. 

Windham Grows

Windham Grows, a project of Strolling of the Heifers, is a socially responsible, sustainability-minded business accelerator that connects socially conscious startup and early-stage businesses with critical services, resources, financing, and like-minded socially conscious business mentors. The project is free to New England based food and agriculture entrepreneurs.

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.

Contact

Contact Kristina Sweet at kristina.sweet@vermont.gov or (802) 522-7811 with additions or corrections to this page. 

Contact Information

Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets

116 State Street
Montpelier, Vt 05620-2901
802.828.2430

Program Contacts

  • Media Inquiries                      802.622.4662
  • Licensing & Registration        802.828.2436
  • Business Development          802.828.1619
  • Feed, Seed, Fertilizer & Lime  802.828.2431
  • Working Lands                    802.622.4477
  • Public Health & Resource Management                802.828.2431
  • Laboratory               802.522.3502
  • Animal Health                        802.828.2421
  • Dairy                              802.828.2433
  • Consumer Protection / Weights & Measures                            802.828.2433
  • Meat Inspection                    802.828.2426
  • Water Quality                               802.828.2431
    • Farmer Assistance                    802.622.4098
    • Enforcement                                802.828.2431
    • Reports                                      802.272.0323
    • BMP's                                      802.828.3474
  • Act 250                          802.828.2431 
  • Pesticide                        802.828.2431