The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) announces the availability of funds through the Organic Dairy Farm Transition Support Grant program, which will provide grants to dairy farmers impacted by contract cancellations from Horizon Organic. Projects funded through this program will support farm transition costs to ensure compliance with new buyer/processor requirements. Activities covered by the grant include the purchase and installation of equipment, construction for improved animal health, safety, and efficiency, supplies, and additional technical assistance.
In 2022, the Vermont Legislature appropriated funds in Act 185 to support organic dairy farmers whose contracts had been terminated by Horizon Organic in the fall of 2021. The language in Act 185 specifically states that funds are to be used, “to assist with the costs of modifications needed to accommodate the new buyer.”
Projects funded by this grant program will allow organic farmers to take actionable steps to improve their farm’s long-term ability to ship milk to their new buyer. Projects may include a focus on milk handling and storage, milk quality improvements, calf and young stock housing, mature animal housing, animal safety, farm accessibility, and labor efficiency improvements. Construction projects are encouraged.
Applicants to this grant round are encouraged to apply for a Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center grant released at the same time – On-Farm Milk Storage and Handling grant - as these two funding opportunities may be complementary and allow for a larger farm project to be completed. Funds may also be paired with USDA Farm Service Agency loans from the Farm Storage Facility Loan program, VAAFM Water Quality grants, such as funding for Best Management Practices, or Vermont Farm Fund loans to support a holistic approach to necessary farm improvements.
Grants will range from $5,000- $17,500 with a 25% match commitment. Match waivers are also available. FSA low-interest loans and other grants are encouraged to supplement the project. Total funds available: $200,000.
Vermont organic dairy farmers who received contract terminations from Horizon Organic are the only eligible applicants.
How to Apply
- Review the full Vermont Organic Dairy Transition Support Grant RFA (request for applications) application process.
- Register in WebGrants (may take up to two business days).
- Complete your application in WebGrants using our Application Guide. Application period: August 25 - October 6, 2022 at 2:00 PM ET.
Have a Question about this Grant?
Have a question? Contact Laura Ginsburg.