News Releases

October 20, 2010

Vermont Agriculture Innovation Center Proposal Due Dates Closing for Infrastructure Development and Technical & Business Assistance

Five Requests for Proposals were released by the Vermont Agriculture Innovation Center in August of 2010, and two remain. Proposals for Infrastructure Development/ Processing & Storage are due by midnight on Wednesday, October 20, 2010 and Technical & Business Assistance proposals are due by midnight on Wednesday, October 27, 2010. Proposal deadlines have passed for Professional & Organizational Development, Workforce Development, and Market Development.

The goals of the Innovation Center program are to fund state-based Agriculture Innovation programs that provide technical, marketing and organizational development services to value-added agricultural businesses. “Value-added” businesses include farms that do some level of processing of raw products, alternative production (e.g. organic), diversified farming, or local foods marketing. The Vermont Agriculture Innovation Center (AIC) was created in 2009 when Senator Patrick Leahy secured $469,000 in funding through the USDA’s Agriculture Innovation Demonstration Center program to continue its work and disburse funds to strategically enhance value-added agriculture in the state of Vermont. Vermont received approximately $1 million for FY through USDA for value-added agriculture in Vermont.

The funds available for Infrastructure Development – Processing & Storage are $200,000 total and $15,000 - $40,000 per phase of each project. The goals of this project area are to increase market access through facilities to aggregate product, process raw products into forms most useful to consumers, and create value-added premium products, assess physical components as part of a larger strategic plan to improve processing and storage bottlenecks, and address productivity in the meat industry. Applications are encouraged from organizations and/or individuals to assist in planning stages of projects that address gaps in value-added processing facilities and storage facilities in Vermont. Funding in this category cannot be used to invest directly in infrastructure or equipment, the intent is to bring projects up to the point of that investment, through helping to fund all necessary preparation. Proposals are due Wednesday, October 20, 2010 by midnight.

The funds available for Technical and Business Assistance for Value-Added Agricultural and Ag Related Businesses are $300,000 total and $75,000 - $150,000 per project. The goals of this project area are to close gaps in both services provided and value-added producers served, shorten time to start up of value-added agricultural businesses, and increase likelihood of ongoing success for all value-added businesses. Applicants in this category are being encouraged from service providers that represent organizations, businesses and/or individuals who are building or improving systems of value-added technical and business assistance. Proposals are due Wednesday, October 27, 2010 by midnight.

All project proposals need to benefit value-added agriculture and be completed by September 30, 2011. Strong preference will be given to proposals that demonstrate partnerships between multiple organizations, have a statewide reach, are innovative, and build on existing programs. Proposals will need to benefit more than one person or business. Proposals will also need to present a budget that demonstrates a match of non-federal funds equal to at least 60 of the total budget. In-kind contributions can count toward the match. For FY 2010, the AIC will consider strong proposals that have an insufficient match, pending further match development.

The “Request for Proposals” are available on the Vermont Agency of Agriculture web-site under “Hot Topics” at http://www.vermontagriculture.com/ . For more information, please contact Colleen Leonard at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture at colleen.leonard@state.vt.us or (802) 828-2790.

Source: Agency of Agriculture
Last Updated at: October 20, 2010 16:55:52