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Agriculture and Working Lands Application has Launched

The Agriculture and Working Lands Application launched! We encourage all agriculture and working lands businesses to review this program and apply. 

The legislature made appropriations to the Working Lands Enterprise Fund with money from the Federal Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) that Congress created as part of the CARES Act. Vermont State bills Act 137 (H. 966), and Act 120 (H.961) were signed by the Governor last month.  This $3.5 million combined WLEF appropriation will be merged with the $5 million non-dairy appropriation in Act 138 (S.351).  Together, these grants are accessible through an Agriculture and Working Lands Assistance application.  To be eligible, businesses will need to demonstrate economic losses or expenditures since March 1, 2020 that relate to the business disruption caused by the pandemic. Because these funds have legislative and CARES Act eligibility requirements and restrictions, all previous applicants to the FY20 COVID-19  Response Business Development grant program  will need to re-apply to the new Agriculture and Working Lands Assistance program to request a grant. All previous WLEF businesses who applied for and/or received grants are potentially eligible and encouraged to apply to this new and much larger grant program. 

How to Apply

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

Review the Eligibility Requirements Agriculture & Working Lands Eligibility FlowchartUse this flowchart to determine if your business or organization is eligible for assistance.

Gather the following documentation: 2019 Tax Return, 2019 and 2020 Income Statements broken out by month, as well as documentation of losses incurred since March 1, 2020 that are related to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Applicants should also have available the information that is captured in a W-9 Form , but applicants are not required to submit a signed W-9 with their applications.

The deadline for the Vermont COVID-19 Agricultural Assistance Program (VCAAP) Agriculture & Working Lands Application has been extended to November 15, 2020 at 8:00 AM.  This extension and some important changes to the grant programs were included in new legislation. The Vermont Agency of Agriculture will continue to process applications received prior to the initial deadline of October 1, 2020 at 8:00 AM.  The Agency will temporarily suspend taking new applications for a couple of weeks to update the application.  The Agency will let the public know when the application is up and running again.

During this interim period, the Agency strongly encourages potential applicants to gather documentation of their losses and costs related to the COVID-19 public health emergency and prepare to apply when the applications reopen. Other important VCAAP items of note:

  1. Eligible applicants with a net business profit between March 1 and August 1, 2020 are not disqualified from the Agriculture & Working Lands Grant Program.

  2. Eligible sole proprietors are no longer disqualified from the Agriculture & Working Lands Grant Program because they did not file a W-2 form for themselves or an employee in the 2018 or 2019 taxable year.

  3. A business may now apply for more than one State grant funded by Coronavirus Relief Funds, but not for the same purpose as another grant or to cover the same losses or costs.

  4. The Vermont Agency of Agriculture expects to establish a VCAAP Farmers’ Market Assistance Application for farmers’ markets that do not qualify for the current program because their annual gross sales are less than $10,000. The maximum award for this new program will be $2,000.

  5. The Vermont Agency of Agriculture will establish a VCAAP Farm to School Assistance Application. The maximum Farm to School Assistance award will be $10,000.

To apply, please visit this link.