Agriculture and Working Lands Assistance Application

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Overview

The Vermont State Legislature appropriated $8.5 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds in Act 138 (S.351), Act 137 (H. 966), and Act 120 (H.961) for Agriculture and Working Lands Assistance. Of these funds, $5 million was designated to Agricultural Producer and Processor Assistance, for farmers, meat and poultry processors, commercial slaughterhouses, and farmers' markets; $2.5 million was appropriated to the Working Lands Enterprise Fund for agricultural, food and forest, and wood product industries; and $1 million was appropriated for the COVID-19 Working Lands Program for agriculture, food, and market businesses. 

This application is administered by the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets in partnership with Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA), and is open to eligible farmers, meat and poultry processors, commercial slaughterhouses, farmers' markets, value-added food product businesses, forest products businesses, and producer associations

The Agency of Agriculture will issue grant payments for Agriculture and Working Lands Assistance on a first-come, first-served basis. All compensable losses and costs must have been incurred since March 1, 2020 and be related to the COVID-19 public health emergency. 

  • The initial deadline for the Agriculture and Working Lands Application was October 1, 2020. At this time, all applications submitted by October 1 are under review.
  • The deadline for new applications is Sunday, November 15, 2020 at 11:59 PM. 
  • Sign up for our newsletter to receive updates!

Contents


How to Apply

Agriculture and Working Lands Assistance funds are available to eligible applicants on a first come, first served basis. The deadline to apply is Sunday, November 15, 2020 at 11:59 PM. Note that the application may close earlier than November 15 if all funds are subscribed. 

  1. Review the Eligibility Requirements.
  2. Gather documentation:
  • Your business or organization's 2019 federal and state tax returns. (If you have not completed your 2019 federal tax return, the most recent return is acceptable.)
  • If you are claiming revenue losses in your application, a 2019 and 2020 profit and loss statement, broken out by month.*
  • If you are claiming other costs or expenses in your application, documentation such as receipts or invoices detailing costs or expenses incurred since March 1, 2020 that are related to the COVID-19 public health emergency. 
  1. Complete and submit your application as soon as you are able to submit an accurate application, but no later than November 15, 2020 at 11:59 PM. 

*If you received an Economic Recovery Grant from the Agency of Commerce & Community Development or the Vermont Department of Taxes or a Forest Economy Stabilization Grant from the Department of Forest, Parks and Recreation, you cannot claim additional revenue loss in the Agriculture and Working Lands Application.

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Resources for a Successful Application

Still have questions? If you need assistance with the application process, connect with a Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program business advisor or refer to our list of Agriculture Business Support partners. We recommend connecting with a technical assistance provider at least 10 business days prior to the application deadline to receive one-on-one support. For all other questions, please contact us


Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible to apply for any Vermont COVID-19 Agriculture Assistance Program (VCAAP) application, business applicants must meet all of the following criteria: 

  • be domiciled or have a primary place of business in Vermont; 
  • be without an active enforcement violation that reached a final order with the Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) and/or the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR); 
  • be in compliance with all terms of any current grant agreement(s) or contract(s) with VAAFM and/or ANR; and
  • since March 1, 2020 have experienced expenses, lost revenue, or both relating to business interruption caused by COVID-19.

Eligible Sectors

To be eligible for Agriculture and Working Lands Assistance, an applicant must demonstrate that their business is one of the following. Each business will be identified through its Tax Identification Number (TIN)

  • An agriculture business that participates in the science or practice of farming, including growing crops and raising animals for the production of food, fiber, fuel and other products, a commercial processor, commercial slaughterhouse, or farmers’ market. 

    1. farmer is a business not eligible for assistance under the VCAAP Dairy Assistance Application with a gross annual income of $10,000 from the sale of agricultural products, livestock, livestock products, or poultry products in one of the two, or three of the five, calendar years preceding submission of an application. These would all be considered "farming" for the purposes of this application:

      (A) the cultivation or other use of land for growing food, fiber, Christmas trees, maple sap, or horticultural and orchard crops; or

      (B) the raising, feeding, or management of livestock, poultry, fish, or bees; or

      (C) the operation of greenhouses; or

      (D) the production of maple syrup; or

      (E) the on-site storage, preparation and sale of agricultural products principally produced on the farm; or

      (F) the on-site storage, preparation, production, and sale of fuel or power from agricultural products or wastes principally produced on the farm; or

      (G) the raising, feeding, or management of four or more equines owned or boarded by the farmer, including training, showing, and providing instruction and lessons in riding, training, and the management of equines.

    • Commercial processor means any business regulated under 6 V.S.A. § 3302 for the purpose of processing livestock, meat, meat food product, poultry, or poultry product other than for the exclusive use in the household of the owner of the commodity, by the owner and members of the owner’s household and the owner’s nonpaying guests and employees.

    • Commercial slaughterhouse means any business engaged in slaughtering livestock or poultry other than as a custom slaughterer or a business conducting slaughter under 6 V.S.A. § 3312(b), (c), or (d).

    • Farmers’ market means an event or series of events at which two or more vendors of agricultural products, as defined in 11 V.S.A. § 991, gather for purposes of offering for sale the public their agricultural products.

Farmers' markets with less than $10,000 in annual gross sales should apply to the Farmers' Market Relief Application by November 6, 2020 at 12:00 PM

  • A value-added food product business that produces a raw, cooked, or processed edible substance, beverage, or ingredient intended for human consumption. These products cannot be animal feed, live animals (except for seafood products customarily sold and/or consumed live), non-harvested plants, fiber, medicinal products, cosmetics, tobacco products, or narcotics. Farmers, commercial processors, commercial slaughterhouses, and farmers' markets are excluded from this definition.

Businesses such as restaurants, bars, lodging properties, and retail operations that collect and remit Vermont Meals and Rooms Tax or Sales and Use Tax on a monthly or quarterly basis  should apply for an Economic Recovery Grant with the Vermont Department of Taxes.

  • forest products business that is primarily engaged in managing, harvesting, trucking, processing, manufacturing, crafting, or distributing forest or wood products derived from Vermont forests. Forest products businesses include consulting forestry services and secondary manufacturers of wood products.

  • A dairy producer or processor, including raw milk producers and those who receive grant funding from the Dairy Assistance Application, provided that businesses that apply for a dairy program grant cannot apply for reimbursement for any of their losses and/or expenses that relate to their dairy operations. Dairy businesses are allowed to apply for dairy grants and working lands grants, but they cannot apply for working lands grants for the “same purpose” as the dairy grant program. To define eligibility, “same purpose” means all losses or expenses related to a business’s dairy operations and/or all other losses or expenses that the dairy business includes in its dairy grant application. Losses and/or expenses that are for the “same purpose” as the dairy grant program are ineligible for separate relief under the working lands program. Restrictions on reimbursement for losses and/or expenses related to a dairy operation may apply.

  • An agriculture producer association, defined as a Vermont-based nonprofit producer association group that represents and promotes Vermont agriculture, food, beverage, forest, or fiber products. For the purposes of this grant, producer association group, also known as a trade association, industry trade group, business association, sector association or industry body, is an organization founded and funded by businesses that operate in a specific industry.  

Sector-Specific Eligibility Criteria
Agriculture Businesses

If your business is considered an agriculture business as defined above, it must satisfy at least one of the following two scenarios:

  • It was open and active as of February 15, 2020;
  • It is currently open for business or has a plan to reopen;
  • It is not in Chapter 7 bankruptcy; and
  • It is in good standing with both the Vermont Department of Taxes and the Vermont Secretary of State.

OR

  • It was open and active as of March 1, 2020; and
  • It is currently open for business.
Value-Added Food Product Businesses, Forest Products Businesses, Dairy Producers or Processors, and Agricultural Producer Associations

If your business is a value-added food product business, forest products business, dairy producer or processor, or an agricultural producer association as defined above, your business will likely be eligible for the Agriculture and Working Lands Application provided it meets the following criteria:

  • Gross annual income of between $10,000 and $20,000,000;
  • Open and active for business as of February 15, 2020;
  • Currently open for business or has a plan to reopen;
  • Not in Chapter 7 bankruptcy; and
  • In good standing with both the Vermont Department of Taxes and the Vermont Secretary of State.

 

Please note: Your business will be ineligible if it does not meet all general VCAAP eligibility requirements, gross at least $10,000 annually, and meet requirements applicable to your specific business.

Questions about eligibility? Reference the VCAAP Frequently Asked Questions.


Webinars

View a webinar recording to learn more about the Vermont COVID-19 Agriculture Assistance Program (VCAAP) Agriculture and Working Lands Assistance Application. 

Question & Answer Session

Recorded on October 13, 2020, this session provides an overview of changes to the Vermont COVID-19 Agriculture Assistance Program (VCAAP) and answers to questions about the program.

Application Tips Session

Recorded on September 14, 2020, this session provides an overview of the Agriculture and Working Lands Application, common errors, and tips for submitting a successful application. Please note that as a result of recent legislation, some information about the application deadline and eligibility presented in this webinar may be out of date. For a summary of changes, review our October 1, 2020 press release

 


Award Information

  1. Eligible applicants with 2019 annual gross sales of $10,000 to $24,999 shall receive up to $2,500.
  2. Eligible applicants with 2019 annual gross sales of $25,000 to $49,999 shall receive up to $5,000.
  3. Eligible applicants with 2019 annual gross sales of $50,000 to $99,999 shall receive up to $10,000.
  4. Eligible applicants with 2019 annual gross sales of $100,000 or more shall receive up to $20,000.
  5. Eligible applicants with 2019 annual gross sales of $250,000 or more shall receive up to $50,000.

Contact Us

(802) 828-2430 select #9
AGR.CovidResponse@vermont.gov

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  802.828.5050
  • Working Lands                    802.622.4477
  • Public Health & Resource Management                802.828.2431
  • Laboratory                                  802.585.6073
  • Animal Health                        802.828.2421
  • Dairy                              802.828.2433
  • Consumer Protection / Weights & Measures                           802.828.2433
  • Produce Program                  802.522.7811
  • Meat Inspection                    802.828.2426
  • Water Quality                               802.828.2431
    • Grants                                  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