Grant Opportunities

2020 Working Lands Grant Opportunities


Working Lands Enterprise Fund COVID-19 Business Development Grant - Request for Applications

For the Fiscal Year 2020 grant cycle, the Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB) plans to award a total of $180,000  in COVID-19 Response Business Development Grants within the sectors of agriculture and forestry. These funds are designed to complement a business’s ability to maintain operations while increasing capacity to rebuild and/or recover during an unprecedented time of need. Grants will be awarded within the range of $5,000 to $25,000. Match is not a requirement for this particular funding opportunity, though match of cash or in-kind is encouraged, and applications with match will be more competitive

Request for Applications Release: May 15th, 2020
Application Opens for Submission: May 21st, 2020
Application Deadline:  May 31st, 2020 at 11:59 PM (application closes at midnight)
Award Notification: June 15th, 2020
Estimated Project Start: June 25th, 2020


Applying organizations must be agriculture or forestry-based businesses located in Vermont whose registration with the Secretary of State is active at the time of application submission. All business ownership structures are eligible (e.g., Partnerships, Limited Liability Corporations, Sole Proprietorships, Cooperatives, Corporations, S Corporations, L3Cs; and/or non-profits involved in the production of agriculture and/or forest products). Applicants must be in compliance with all state regulations (i.e., water quality, taxes, child support) and in good standing with the State of Vermont at the time of submitting an application and must remain so during the entire grant period.

Previous recipients of Working Lands Business Grants, other than those who have received a grant in Fiscal Year 2020, are eligible to apply for this opportunity


Applying organizations must have experienced, and be able to clearly demonstrate, negative business impacts due to COVID-19. Eligible proposals will focus on business response, shifting marketing strategies, or other activities that may improve business recovery. Project activities eligible for funding include:

  • Market development: developing marketing plans and/or sales strategies, accessing new markets and securing new customers, brand development including website design or upgrades, institutional and wholesale market expansion, costs associated with achieving humane and/or organic certification
  • Value-added production: transitioning to operation as a new processor or expansion as an existing processor; transitioning to new pack-size/labeling or enhancing production and/or manufacturing efficiencies
  • Research and development: testing new systems or technologies; developing innovative solutions to production or management issues including accounting, tracking, and/or sales software, (e.g., E-Commerce, Home Delivery or Curbside Pick-up)
  • Operations logistics: workplace modifications to meet worker safety protocols regulations for working lands enterprises compliance, addressing labor force and public health in response to the pandemic
  • Growth strategy: new or expansion of current efforts, expanding consumer outreach and/or expansion of existing marketing strategy, established multi-year marketing plan and growth strategy of the industry represented, with intent to sell goods out of Vermont.

FY21 Service Provider Grants

Please check back for the Working Lands Enterprise Service Provider funding opportunity for Fiscal Year 2021, in Fall of 2020.

FY21 Business Grants

Please check back for the Working Lands Enterprise Business Grant funding opportunity for Fiscal Year 2021, in Fall of 2020.

For 2020, the Working Lands Enterprise Board deployed over $1 million in grants and contracts, to (37) Agriculture and Forestry businesses and service providers around the State. Part of the strategic plan for this year was the emphasis on large-scale market level and supply chain impacts in the dairy and forestry sectors,  which were eligible for grants up to $150,000. Representing the forestry sector with projects to improve processing capabilities and healthy forest stewardship are Rick’s Firewood and DCI Inc. who received funding that totals $225,000. Kingdom Creamery and Joneslan Farm are the larger dairy investments, totaling $293,954, to complete projects in, or related to, production and processing.

Links to Statewide Strategic Plans

(useful for the Impact Section of the Full Application)



Contact Information

Working Lands Enterprise Initiative
116 State Street
Montpelier, Vt 05620
(802) 622-4477
Email Working Lands Staff