The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) is now accepting applications for the new Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) Capital Improvement Grant Program. This program was created by the Vermont Legislature to provide matching grants for capital investments that will support Vermont agricultural producers in obtaining GAP certification.
The goals of the GAP Capital Improvement Grant Program are to increase sales of Vermont fruits and vegetables and create or maintain jobs by enhancing market access and promoting food safety. Both GAPs-certified producers, as well as those who are looking towards GAPs certification are eligible to apply. There is a maximum cap among all GAPs Capital Improvements Program grants of $10,000 per farm, and farms must contribute a minimum of 50% of the total project costs. To be eligible for funding, the participant must be in good standing with the Agency of Agriculture regarding regulatory requirements and resulting penalties.
A total of $100,000 is available. Funding will be disbursed in two grant rounds, with the first grant round open from July 1 to September 30, 2011. A total of $50,000 is available in the first grant round, and will be made available to producers for eligible expenses in the order that applications are received. Applications received after first round grant funds are fully expended will be automatically considered in the second round of funding. The second round will open on November 1, 2011.
NOTE: Interested applicants can contact Allen Matthews for assistance (firstname.lastname@example.org). Grant applications can be up to $10,000 per farm for capital improvements. While the Federal standards for GAP wave any sales under $500,000 and within 275 miles from the farm, it looks as if local grocers, including Co-ops, may be gearing up to require their own GAP approval for all farms wanting to sell to them.