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Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans Competitive Grants Program (AgVets)

Grants to USA Nonprofits to Assist Military
Veterans Seeking Careers in Agriculture

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

02/08/18 5:00 PM EST Receipt


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Grants to USA and territories nonprofit organizations for training services and programs to enhance and establish ranching and farming opportunities for veterans. Letters of intent are due January 11. The purpose of this program is to assist returning veterans seeking careers in agriculture while simultaneously supporting military families in rural areas.

While military veterans are eligible for most USDA programs, a hands-on immersive training experience has been identified as a critical strategy for helping them enter into and sustain successful careers in farming and ranching. With targeted outreach and key strategic partnerships, existing and pilot programs can assist veterans in securing meaningful employment opportunities that strengthen rural economies across America.

Program Purpose: The overarching goal of AgVets is to increase the number of military veterans gaining knowledge and skills through comprehensive, hands-on and immersive model farm/ranch programs offered regionally that lead to successful careers in the food and agricultural sector.

Requested Project Type –Training and Outreach Projects only Requested Grant Type – Standard Grants only

To help achieve the AgVets Program goal, this program is seeking projects that will develop a model training program specifically designed for hands-on farming and ranching training for military veterans. These model training programs must:

-Offer farm and ranch hands-on training and classroom education through an immersive onsite learning experience leading to a comprehensive understanding of successful farm/ranch operation/management practices aligned to the veteran cohort’s interests;

-Develop or identify curriculum used, including cutting edge technologies and innovations that producers can adopt to help manage their operations;

-Include the appropriate mix of education, workshops, tours and instructor-supervised field experiences;

-Be led and managed by a project team that has demonstrated competency to implement a project of comparable size and complexity, provide fiscal accountability, collect data, and prepare reports and other necessary documentation;

-Provide support for veteran participation with a special focus on diverse and underrepresented groups. Successful applications will include a sound approach to outreach and selection of participants;

-As appropriate, align education and training goals with USDA programs and resources to increase awareness and engagement with state and local offices of Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources and Conservation Service (NRCS), and Rural Development (RD), including learning about potential job and career opportunities within the USDA;

-Evaluate the training model and participate in cross-program evaluation to assess the collective impact toward shared performance measures and outcome goals through activities that include Project Team meetings, conference calls, and engagement with federal agency partners as appropriate;

-Ensure results are disseminated through an effective communication plan; and

-Contribute program information and resources to Farm Answers.

Projects must be led and managed by a project team that has experience in one or more areas that include:

-Veteran engagement in agricultural pursuits, particularly concerning small and medium-size farms and agribusiness, such as the provision of education and training to veterans and the development of skills leading to job placement and career opportunities in farming and ranching, including access to land, equipment, and capital;

-On-the-job training and education, apprenticeship, and business development activities for veterans pursuing vocational and entrepreneurial interests that support and grow the food supply chain; and/or

-Efforts to enhance and increase workforce readiness and employment prospects for service-disabled veterans through volunteer engagement and leadership development efforts that promote nature-based reintegration, civic ecology, and earning farm and off-farm income.

Other Key Program Information:

There are other programs and initiatives at the regional and national level that can offer support to veterans as they explore agricultural career and entrepreneurial opportunities after they conclude their military service. Helping veterans understand and connect with available resources may also inform policy recommendations at the state and/or federal level that strengthen collaboration on transitioning Service members’ education, training, and apprenticeship programs, including use of GI Bill benefits, which promote the food and agricultural sector as a viable career option.

To further this direction, AgVets encourages (but does not require) applicants to explore how their projects might connect with entities that include:
-Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP)
-Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Grant Program
-Extension Risk Management Education Centers (ERMEs)
-Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDCs)
-Small Business Administration and their resourced partners such as Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) program
-Business Development Centers (SBDCs), Women’s Business Center (WBCs), and the Service-Disabled Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Program
-Department of Labor’s Veterans Employment and Training Service
-Department of Veteran Affairs and Veteran Serving Organizations

Project Types and Grant Types:

1. Project Types - The AgVets program will accept Training and Outreach project types.

Training and Outreach Projects must conduct programs and activities that deliver science- based knowledge and informal educational programs to veterans through an immersive onsite learning experience leading to a comprehensive understanding of successful farm/ranch operation/management practices. Training and Outreach projects may also include related matters such as certification programs, instructional materials and innovative instructional methods appropriate to help prospective producers successfully manage their operations.

2. Grant Types - The following is the available grant type under this RFA.

Standard Grant. This is an award instrument by which NIFA agrees to support a specified level of effort for a predetermined project period without the announced intention of providing additional support at a future date.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 182599

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Applications must not exceed $1,000,000 total (including indirect costs).

Term of Contract:

Project periods may be up to 3 years.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

AgVets applicants must be nonprofit organizations. The Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, 2 CFR part 200, defines the term “nonprofit organization” as follows:

Nonprofit organization means any corporation, trust, association, cooperative, or other organization, not including institutions of higher education (IHEs), that:
(a) Is operated primarily for scientific, educational, service, charitable, or similar purposes in the public interest;
(b) Is not organized primarily for profit; and
(c) Uses net proceeds to maintain, improve, or expand the operations of the organization.

A letter stating the non-profit status should be included as an attachment to Field 12, Other Attachments (Part IV.C.3.c.). Failure to meet an eligibility criterion by the application deadline may result in the application being excluded from consideration or, even though an application may be reviewed, will preclude NIFA from making an award.

Only the applicant must meet the eligibility requirement. Project partners and collaborators need not meet the eligibility requirement. Award recipients may subcontract to organizations not eligible to apply provided such organizations are necessary for the successful completion of the project. Applications submitted by individuals are not eligible for consideration under any category applicable to AgVets.


(1) The Northeast region consists of the 12 Northeast States and the District of Columbia (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and West Virginia);

(2) The Southern Region consists of 13 States plus Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands (Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma);

(3) The North Central Region consists of 12 States (Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota); and

(4) The Western Region consists of 12 States and the American Territories in the Pacific (Hawaii, Alaska, Washington State, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, and American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, and Micronesia).

Fiscal Agent (not required):

If an applicant uses a fiscal agent, a letter must be included in the application stating that in the event the application results in an award, the award funds will be administered through a fiscal agent organization on their behalf. This agent must be identified in the letter from the applicant and the letter must be countersigned by an authorized representative of the fiscal agent organization.

Pre-Application Information:

Applicants are encouraged to submit a “Letter of Intent to Submit an Application” by January 11, 2018. This does not obligate you in any way, but provides useful information to NIFA in preparing for application review.

If you do not submit a letter of intent by the specified due date you may still submit an application by the application due date specified in the RFA. Although a letter of intent is not required, is not binding, and does not enter into the review of a subsequent application, the information that it contains allows program staff to estimate the potential review workload and plan the review.

Letters of Intent must be received by 5:00 PM Eastern Time on January 11, 2018.

Applications must be received by 5:00 PM Eastern Time on February 8, 2018.

Applicants are urged to submit early to the system.

Prior to preparing an application, it is recommended that the Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) first contact an Authorized Representative (AR, also referred to as Authorized Organizational Representative, or AOR) to determine if the organization is prepared to submit electronic applications through

If not (e.g., the institution/organization is new to the electronic grant application process through, then the one-time registration process must be completed PRIOR to submitting an application.

It can take as long as two weeks to complete the registration process so it is critical to begin as soon as possible.

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Contact Information:

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

Submit LOIs to:

Program Contact:
Mr. Brent Elrod

CFDA Number:


Funding or Pin Number:


URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

USA Compact Free Associations: The Federated States of Micronesia (USA)