News Releases

October 03, 2014

Working Lands Enterprise Board Announces $1 million in Available Grant Funds

Today, The Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB) announces the availability of $1 million in grant funds for essential, catalytic investments in Vermont’s farm and forest economy, from individual enterprises to service providers to supply chain partnerships. These grants will fund projects that enhance Vermont’s economy, culture, and communities.

This year, funds for local food market development projects, previously solicited through a separate request for proposals (the Local Food Market Development Program) will be allocated through the WLEB grant process.

Links to the requests for proposals and applications can be found online at http://workinglands.vermont.gov/apply/rfp. Applicant Information Sessions are scheduled for October 7th, 9th, and 14th.

“The Working Lands Enterprise Initiative is a significant investment in our forests, farms, food, recreation, and wood products economies,” said Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets, Chuck Ross. “A vibrant working landscape is an integral component of Vermont’s brand, economy, and quality of life.”

“Vermont’s working landscape is vital to our economy. Not only does it attract tourism, recreation, and businesses; it serves as a foundation for our agriculture, forest products, stone and minerals, and renewable energy sectors.” said Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Community Development, Lucy Leriche. “Promoting and interacting with Vermont’s working landscape is critical to our economy and to our way of life.

“Vermont's forests provide substantial contributions to Vermont’s economy and well-being,” said Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Michael Snyder. “When we invest in the forestry and forest products sector in Vermont, we bolster Vermont’s character and the strength of our economy.

The WLEB began operations in August 2012 and in Fiscal Year 2013 awarded over $1 million in grant funds to 37 grantees. An additional $750,000 in outside funds were leveraged as a result of these projects. In Fiscal Year 2014, The WLEB awarded 37 projects for $1.1 million in grants reaching every county in Vermont and leveraging $1.8 million in matching funds. To see a list of FY13 and FY14 funded projects, visit http://workinglands.vermont.gov/projects.

Working Lands funds are available in three investment areas:

1. Enterprise Investments - $3,000 - $20,000

APPLICATION DUE: 11/19/2014

Applicant Informational Sessions: October 9th and October 14th, 4:30pm - 6pm

For: Vermont agriculture, food systems, forestry and/or forest products enterprises involved in the production of agriculture and/or forest related products (including farm and/or forest landowners).

Investment areas may include: infrastructure, marketing, market development, working capital, business development and technical assistance to meet a need not already filled by existing programs.

2. Service Provider Grants - $10,000 - $150,000

LETTER OF INTENT DUE: 11/12/2014

FULL APPLICATION DUE: 2/27/2015

Applicant Informational Session: October 7th, 4:30pm - 6pm

Projects may include, but are not limited to: Production-specific assistance; feasibility studies for new products: assessing demand, scale, financial viability, environmental and social impacts, product research services; market development; business and financial planning; succession planning; organizational, regulatory, and/or business development assistance.

3. Capital and Infrastructure Investments - $15,000 - $75,000

LETTER OF INTENT DUE: 10/29/2014

FULL APPLICATION DUE: 1/30/2015

Applicant Informational Sessions: October 9th and October 14th, 4:30pm - 6pm

Projects may include, but are not limited to: Costs associated with project specific planning, permitting, and/or engineering/architectural design plans; capital investments to access land (i.e., acquisition and easement); working capital; purchase and/or construction of physical assets (i.e., building and equipment costs) for value-added manufacturing; information technology; and renewable energy initiatives.

Applicant Information Sessions will be hosted at the following locations:

• Tuesday, October 7th, 2014, 4:30pm – 6:00pm

o Who: Service Providers interested in applying

o Webinar Log-in: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/943839775

o Location to view webinar:

? Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, 116 State Street, 2nd Floor Conference Room, Montpelier, VT

• Thursday, October 9th, 2014, 4:30pm – 6:00pm

o Who: Enterprises interested in applying for small or large grants

o Webinar Log-in: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/448643175

o Locations to view webinar:

? Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, 116 State Street, 2nd Floor Conference Room, Montpelier, VT

? Northeastern Vermont Development Association, 36 Eastern Avenue, Suite 1, St. Johnsbury, VT

• Tuesday, October 14th, 2014, 4:30pm – 6:00pm

o Who: Enterprises interested in applying for small or large grants

o Webinar Log-in: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/821739367

o Locations to view webinar:

? Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, 116 State Street, 2nd Floor Conference Room, Montpelier, VT

? Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation, 76 Cotton Mill Hill (the front, smaller building, lower level), Brattleboro, VT

? Northeastern Vermont Development Association, 36 Eastern Avenue, Suite 1, St. Johnsbury, VT

To access the Working Lands Full request for Proposals - http://workinglands.vermont.gov/apply/rfp

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The Working Lands Enterprise Initiative, (Act 142), is administered by the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, in partnership with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation and the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development. The Working Lands funds are administered by the Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB), an impact investment organization whose mission is to grow the economies, cultures, and communities of Vermont's working landscape by making essential, catalytic investments in critical leverage points of the Vermont farm and forest economy, from individual enterprises to industry sectors.

Contact: Noelle Sevoian; 802-585-9072; working.lands@state.vt.us

Source: Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets
Last Updated at: October 03, 2014 10:06:39