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Grants to Vermont Service Providers for Projects to Support
Agricultural and Forestry Business Development

Service Provider Grant

Agency Type:


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Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Initiative (WLEI)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

09/27/21 11:59 PM


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Grants of up to $20,000 to Vermont service provider organizations for activities that benefit businesses within the state’s forestry and agricultural sectors. Funding is intended to support new and ongoing programs, projects, and services that encourage the development of Vermont-based working lands businesses. Funds may be used for activities such as marketing, planning, business research and development, COVID-19 response, and workforce development.

Program Purpose

Approximately 20% of Vermont’s working landscape is used for agricultural purposes, and 75% is forested. Vermont prospers and its unique sense of place thrives, in large part, because of intelligent investments in the people and enterprises that comprise its farm, food, and forest-based systems. Strong community engagement and support for the farm and forest sectors leads to enhanced quality of life for Vermont citizens and working lands business owners. 

The mission of the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative is to grow the economies, cultures, and communities of Vermont's working landscape. The Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB) achieves this by making essential, catalytic investments in critical leverage points of the Vermont farm and forest economy and facilitating policy development to optimize the agricultural and forest use of Vermont lands.

Eligible Projects

Grant funds will be awarded to projects that benefit agriculture and forest-based businesses. Projects eligible for funding will include the provision of direct technical assistance and/or indirect services to
support the development of Vermont-based working lands businesses. Ongoing and pilot programs are acceptable, and services may provide the following:

  • Market development, marketing plans, and sales;
  • Business and financial planning;
  • Business responses to COVID-19;
  • Enterprise transitions for next-generation business owners and post succession;
  • Access to capital;
  • Manufacturing efficiencies or process flow;
  • Business research and development.
  • Workforce development, professional engagement training;
  • Import substitution, assistance to businesses emphasizing or exploring Vermont production to fill in
    or address gaps (packaging, ingredients, etc.) along forest and agriculture supply chains.

Projects must enhance Vermont’s working landscape, demonstrated through measurable performance outcomes that may include: Job creation and retention; increased income; increased product output; increased acres in active forestry or agricultural use; land stewardship; business creation; increased access to capital, technical assistance, education, and training; higher payroll and wages; and increased quality of life.

Projects must include collaboration and partnerships among working lands businesses and service providers.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 163151

Estimated Size of Grant:

The Working Lands Enterprise Board plans to fund Service Provider Grant awards in the range of $10,000-$20,000.

Term of Contract:

Grantee must be ready to begin project work immediately following execution of this grant agreement.

Service Provider Grant projects will be 18 months in duration.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible Applicants:

Service provider organizations* must be based in Vermont and registered with the Secretary of State at the time of application submission. All structures are eligible (e.g., Partnerships, Limited Liability Corporations, Sole Proprietorships, Cooperatives, Corporations, S Corporations, L3Cs, B Corporations, and/or nonprofits that are involved in the support of production of agriculture and/or forest products). Vermont service providers, sub-state regional programs, and organizations are welcome to apply.

*A service provider (SP) can be defined as an individual or organization that provides a business with specialized services, including but not restricted to production specialists, business advisors, marketing and branding firms, accountants, and management consultants. For farm, food and forest-sector businesses, when the intricacies of finance and succession planning are handled by a professional, business owners can dedicate time to developing and growing their business.

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.

Working Lands Service Provider grantees are eligible to receive funds more than once. Priority will be given to service provider organizations that are not currently implementing WLEF funded projects or scopes of work.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Join the Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food & Markets for an hour-long webinar, “How to Apply for a Working Lands Enterprise Fund Grant”. The Working Lands team will provide an overview of eligibility for the $5.594 million available in Fiscal Year 2022, tips on how to assemble a successful application, business resources and more. There will also be dedicated time to answer participant questions. This webinar is designed for Vermont working lands businesses and service provider organizations. Participants are encouraged to join by computer but there is also the option to call in. The webinar will be recorded and posted on the URL for Full Text for later viewing.

Event Date: Monday, August 23 @ 12 PM - 1 PM

Participants may join via Microsoft Teams, on this link: or join by phone dialing 1 802-552-8456,,206640952#.

Pre-Application Information:

Key Dates:
- Request for Applications Release Date: August 6, 2021
- Application Opens for Submission: August 13, 2021 at 12:00 PM (noon)
- Application Deadline: September 27, 2021 at 11:59 PM
- Award Notification: End of October 2021
- Estimated Project Date Start: End of December 2021

Applicants that have not previously registered in WebGrants will need to allow 1-2 business days for their registration to be processed.

Grant funds must be matched at a 100% (one-to-one) rate using funds the grantee organization has procured from other sources. Matching funds may not be sourced from other State of Vermont funding opportunities.

Working Lands Service Provider Grant payments are made on a reimbursement basis.

Previous recipients of Working Lands Service Provider Grants are eligible to re- apply for funding during Fiscal Year 2022. Applicants who have received Working Lands grants in the past will be asked to measure and report on the results of previously funded projects and demonstrate how continued funding will be used to grow or improve the program. Services must be provided to a new cohort of businesses for each funding period.

Application instructions:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

To apply:

Programmatic Questions:
Lynn Ellen Schimoler
(802) 622-4477

WebGrants Technical Assistance:
Diana Ferguson
(802) 622-4094

Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Initative
116 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05620

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Vermont

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