Agriculture and Working Lands Assistance Application

Grapes

$6.7 Million Awarded to Agricultural Businesses and Organizations

The Vermont State Legislature appropriated Coronavirus Relief Funds in Act 138 (S.351), Act 137 (H. 966), and Act 120 (H.961) for Agriculture and Working Lands Assistance. The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) awarded these funds to 302 agricultural businesses and organizations that experienced lost revenue or additional expenses related to the COVID-19 public health emergency. 

VAAFM administered the Agriculture and Working Lands Assistance Application in partnership with Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA). The application was open to eligible farmers, meat and poultry processors, commercial slaughterhouses, farmers' markets, value-added food product businesses, forest products businesses, and producer associations, and closed on November 15, 2020.

Impact

Learn more about the Vermont COVID-19 Agriculture Assistance Program (VCAAP) in the VCAAP Impact Report.

Eligibility

The following types of businesses and organizations were eligible to apply for Agriculture and Working Lands Assistance.

  • 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. 

    • A 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 are all 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 were eligible to apply to the Farmers' Market Relief Application.

  • 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 were eligible to apply for Economic Recovery Grants from the Vermont Department of Taxes.

  • A 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 assistance grant cannot apply for reimbursement for any of their losses and/or expenses that relate to their dairy operations. (Dairy businesses were allowed to apply for both Dairy Assistance and Agriculture and Working Lands Assistance; however, losses and/or expenses for the “same purpose” as the Dairy Assistance Application were ineligible for separate relief under the Agriculture and Working Lands Assistance Application.)

  • 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 application, 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.  

Additional Eligibility Criteria
Agriculture Businesses

Businesses considered an agriculture business as defined above were also required to satisfy at least one of the following two scenarios:

  • Open for business as of February 15, 2020;
  • Open for business or had a plan to reopen at the time of application;
  • Not in Chapter 7 bankruptcy; and
  • In good standing with both the Vermont Department of Taxes and the Vermont Secretary of State.

OR

  • Open for business as of March 1, 2020; and
  • Open for business at the time of application.
Value-Added Food Product Businesses, Forest Products Businesses, Dairy Producers or Processors, and Agricultural Producer Associations

Businesses considered a value-added food product business, forest products business, dairy producer or processor, or agricultural producer association as defined above were eligible to apply for Agriculture and Working Lands Assistance provided the business met one of the following criteria:

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

Award Limits

  • Applicants with 2019 annual gross sales of $10,000 to $24,999 were eligible to receive up to $2,500.
  • Applicants with 2019 annual gross sales of $25,000 to $49,999 were eligible to receive up to $5,000.
  • Applicants with 2019 annual gross sales of $50,000 to $99,999 were eligible to receive up to $10,000.
  • Applicants with 2019 annual gross sales of $100,000 were eligible to receive up to $20,000.
  • Applicants with 2019 annual gross sales of $250,000 were eligible to 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