Agriculture and Working Lands Assistance Application

Grapes

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 will be 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. 

For more information see relevant sections below: 


How to Apply

Take the following steps to determine your eligibility and successfully apply. 

  1. Register. This process takes just 2 minutes! 
  2. Gather your documentation.  To make your application process smooth, collect the following documentation ahead of time, in digital form:
    • Your federal and state tax returns from 2019. (If you have not completed your 2019 federal tax return, the most recent is acceptable.)
    • A 2019 and 2020 profit and loss statement, broken out by month
    • Optional: Documentation such as receipts and invoices of losses incurred since March 1, 2020 that are related to the COVID-19 public health emergency. While not required, if included in your application, they may be eligible for reimbursement.
  3. Complete Your Application. Complete and submit your application by October 1, 2020 at 8:00 AM. Please keep in mind that grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so the application may close prior to October 1 if all funds are expended.

Resources for a Successful Application

Still have questions? If you need assistance throughout the application process, get connected with a business advisor or refer to our list of Agriculture Business Support partners. Please reach out to a technical assistance provider by September 18, 2020 to receive one-on-one support prior to the application deadline. For all other questions, please contact us


Eligibility Requirements

There are many paths to eligibility. Review our Agriculture & Working Lands Eligibility Flowchart to help you understand if your business is eligible and/or refer to the following 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; 
  • since March 1, 2020 have experienced expenses, lost revenue, or both relating to business interruption caused by COVID-19; and 
  • not received funding from any other Vermont State COVID-19 recovery program (but dairy businesses should also see the below eligibility criteria). 

Eligible Sectors

In order 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.

  • 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 (not otherwise eligible under the Forest, Parks & Recreation Application).  

  • 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 March 1, 2020;
  • It is currently open for business; and
  • It does not have a net profit between March 1, 2020 and August 1, 2020.

OR

  • It was open and active as of February 15, 2020;
  • It is currently open for business or has a plan to reopen;
  • It may have a net profit between March 1, 2020 and August 1, 2020; and
  • If profitable between March 1, 2020 and August 1, 2020 the following three criteria also apply:
    • It has at least one W-2 employee (which may include the owner);
    • 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.
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;
  • One or more W-2 employees (which may include the owner);
  • 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.


Webinar Information

Attend a webinar to learn more about the Vermont COVID-19 Agriculture Assistance Program (VCAAP) Agriculture and Working Lands Assistance Application. Webinars will be recorded and posted to this page. 

Application Tips Sessions

We have received a lot of feedback over the past two weeks about the Agriculture and Working Lands application process and will be offering two Application Tips sessions next week. These sessions will walk attendees through the application, common errors to be aware of, and how to submit a correct application. Submitting a correct application reduces review time and accelerates eligible applicant awarding. We've developed these to have about 30 minutes of content and 30 minutes of Q&A. Ability to sign in via the Microsoft Teams app (desktop or mobile) will provide the best attendee experience, as we will be screen sharing an application and supporting documents. 

Monday, September 14 | 11am–12pm

Join Microsoft Teams Meeting

+1 802-552-8456   United States, Montpelier (Toll)

Conference ID: 960 604 09#

Local numbers | Learn more about Teams | Meeting options

Wednesday, September 16 | 12pm–1pm

Join Microsoft Teams Meeting

+1 802-552-8456   United States, Montpelier (Toll)

Conference ID: 588 267 572#

Local numbers Learn more about Teams | Meeting options

Agriculture & Working Lands Webinar for Support Organizations and Partners 

This webinar, designed for agriculture and working lands business support organizations and partners, was held on August 19 and covers eligibility criteria, timelines, and application components associated with the $8.5 million available in this application as well as additional resources available to agriculture and working lands businesses through the Vermont COVID-19 Agriculture Assistance Program.

 

Agriculture & Working Lands Webinars for Applicants

This webinar, held on August 25, covers information about the source of funds, eligibility, reporting requirements, and technical instructions on how to complete a successful application.

 


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