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WLEI Impact Grant Pre-applications Open Now

December 9, 2023

The Working Lands Enterprise Initiative (WLEI) is now accepting applications for the ARPA Primary Producer Impact Grant and the Supply Chain Impact Grant. Vermont-based farm, food, and forest sector businesses may apply for grants for $50,000 - $250,000.  

The pre-application portal is open from December 8th through January 19th. There will be an optional applicant webinar on Wednesday, December 13th from 12:00–1:00 PM.  

    ARPA Primary Producer Impact Grant: Applicants must have been operational prior to January 2020. Only primary producers of farm or forest products are eligible to apply for this grant. Examples of eligible primary production activities are farming, livestock rearing, sugaring, dairy, and logging.

    Supply Chain Impact Grant: Applicants must be farm, forest, or local food business in Vermont. Projects proposed for this grant must have a supply chain and/or market level impact on its respective sector, such as: 

    • Make significant process and/or infrastructure improvements for medium to large scale production, producer-processing initiatives, or distribution of primary products in the forestry and/or agriculture sectors.  
    • Scale of the primary product being brought into supply chain has ability to strengthen the industry, address the sector on a market-wide scale, and/or address a market downturn.  
    • The technology or approach is innovative and will lead to new opportunities for multiple businesses and/or will increase the scale of the enterprise in a way that enables it to meet a growing market demand.  

    Projects eligible for funding in either grant may relate to one or more of the following categories: 

    • Market development  
    • Research and development 
    • Infrastructure development  
    • Workforce training and development 

    Applicants will be notified in mid-February 2024 if they are invited to submit a final round application, which will be due at the end of March. Final round applicants will be notified of award decisions in early May, and projects can begin in June. 

    These grants expect a match equal to 100% of the grant request, meaning that for example a business applying for a $100,000 grant should expect to contribute $100,000 in their own cash and/or labor. Under limited circumstances, the matching requirement may be reduced or waived for applicants who demonstrate a clear need for this accommodation. 

    Please visit the WLEI funding opportunities calendar and the Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets grant calendar to see other grants available for Fiscal Year 2024. 

    The Working Lands Enterprise Initiative (WLEI) and governing board (WLEB) were created by the legislature in 2012 to stimulate economic development in the agricultural and forestry sectors. WLEI is a collaborative effort between the Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets, Department of Forest, Parks, and Recreation, and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development.  

    Please follow @vtworkinglands and sign up for the Agriculture Development Bulletin for updates and application announcements.  

    For questions regarding WLEI grant opportunities, please contact:  

    Clare Salerno  

    Agriculture Development Specialist | Working Lands Enterprise Initiative | 802-917-2637