Monday, April 12, 2010

Grant Opportunities for Farmers

I ran across this description of grants from Cornell University and thought it said everything so nice that I would just copy it directly into the blog.  You are welcome to read the rest of the publication but it is geared more for New York farmers.  As I continue to come across grant opportunities, I'll continue to post them here.  (debi kelly)

An increasing number of grant programs are available to farmers from federal or state sources each with specific objectives. Grants fall into the three general types: 1) grants for business planning, adding value and increasing farm viability; 2) grants for on-farm research and demonstration projects that are mostly production oriented though some include marketing demonstration projects; and 3) grants for farm energy conservation, alternative energy, environmental protection/conservation and waste management.

Grants are never available to start a farm and are not a reliable strategy for growing your business. Grants may enable you to expand a particular aspect of your business to make your operation more viable or provide funding to try a new practice on your farm.

Grants are highly competitive so apply only if the project you are proposing clearly meets the grantor’s objectives. Always find out what kinds of projects were funded in the past to determine if your project is in line with what has been funded.

It takes significant time and effort to write a wining grant proposal. Instructions must be followed precisely. Grants often require a cash or in-kind match that must be documented in the budget you propose. Grants will not be considered if they arrive late after the deadline for application. Deadlines for application submission and instructions are generally announced once a year. Most grants are not available on an ongoing basis.

Once you submit a grant, it may take 3 to 6 months to find out if your application was selected for funding. If funded, it also takes time to finalize the contract. Generally you will not be reimbursed for money spent prior to receiving the signed contract. Grant contracts require that you write a report of the results and provide an accounting of how the money was spent; therefore, you must keep accurate records. Grants are also considered income for tax purposes.

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