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Fairs & Field Days: Capital Grants and Operational Stipends

The Agricultural Fairs and Field Days Capital Projects Competitive Grants Program (24 V.S.A. § 5608) and the Stipend Fund provide grants for 20-year capital improvements and operational stipends to Vermont's agricultural fairs and field days.

Vermont fairs and field days draw over 300,000 visitors each year, and many of the fairgrounds are utilized for other events, drawing many more visitors into Vermont communities throughout the year. Fairs and events offer opportunities for the agricultural community to highlight their practices, products, skills, and livelihoods that are part of the success of maintaining Vermont’s working landscape. 

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets has administered the Agricultural Fairs & Field Days Capital Projects Competitive Grants Program and the Stipend Fund for over a decade. The Vermont Legislature appropriates funds annually to Vermont Agricultural Fairs Associations as defined in Rule 91-31 to assist fairs and field days with capital improvements and operational costs.

For more information about these funding opportunities, review the state statute for the Capital Projects Competitve Grants Program and the Stipend Fund Distribution Formula.

Funding Availability                 

A total of $407,299 was available in fiscal year (FY) 2022: $297,299 for Capital Grants and $110,000 for stipends. Up to $35,000 was distributed per applicant for Capital Grants. Stipends were distributed according to the Stipend Distribution Fund Formula.  

How to Apply

The Agricultural Fairs & Field Days Capital Projects Competitive Grants program and the Stipend Fund are currently closed. The funding opportunities will reopen in fall 2022 with funds appropriated for FY 2023.

Review the FY22 Fairs and Field Days Request for Applications (RFA) to learn more about this program, and subscribe to our newsletter to be notified of program updates. ​

Eligibility

Eligibility for Capital Projects Competitive Grant Program

Grants shall be competitively awarded to Vermont Agricultural Fairs Associations to support fairs or field days events operating a minimum of three consecutive, eight-hour days per year.

Eligible Proposals

  • A project with a minimum useful life of 20 years that can be completed within two years.
  • A grant recipient shall contribute matching funds or in-kind services in an amount equal to 15 percent or more of the value of the grant.
  • Applicants must show all quotes as proof of project costs.
  • Project timeline is reasonable and must be completed in 24 months.

Ineligible Proposals

  • Proposals from applicants that do not meet the definition of an eligible fair as outlined by the Vermont statute.
  • Proposals from applicants who are out of compliance with any federal, state or local laws or regulations.
  • Proposals for projects which will not have a useful 20-year lifespan. 
  • Proposals for projects that have already been completed for which the applicant seeks reimbursement.
  • Proposals from applicants failing to meet requirements for previous Agency grants and/or assistance programs, or from individuals or groups unable to perform or having performance issues with previous Agency grant obligations.

Duration of Grants                        

Maximum of 24 months from grant start date. Should the project change, grants may be amended once the grant application has been approved.

Eligibility for Stipend Funds

Funds shall be distributed annually to Vermont Agricultural Fairs Associations as defined in Rule 91-31 to support operating costs, plant improvements, and premiums for agricultural fairs or field days events held at least annually at which premiums are offered for competitive exhibits in at least five competitive categories. New applicants must operate their fair or field day for a minimum of three consecutive days, with a minimum of eight hours operating per day. Each stipend application shall be accompanied by both narrative and financial data and indicate the nature of the award sought for the fund, broken down by plant improvement and general operation, with premiums identified as a separate part of general operations.

Program Contact

Drew Watson
andrew.watson@vermont.gov
802-636-7793

WebGrants Technical Assistance

Melissa Moon
melissa.moon@vermont.gov
802-622-4128