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.
“The Working Lands Enterprise Initiative allows for a targeted investment into the businesses and organizations who are working hard to advance our farm, forestry, and forest products sectors,” said Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets Secretary Chuck Ross. “This is a historic initiative, capturing Vermont’s culture, character, and community.”
“The working landscape is the foundation of several of our most important economic sectors: fundamental to agriculture, forest products, stone and minerals, and renewable energy, and also to our tourism economy,” said Agency of Commerce and Community Development Secretary Lawrence Miller. “Interacting with the land in work and in recreation is a critical part of our culture.”
“Vermont's forests provide significant contributions to our economy and well-being,” said Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Michael Snyder. “When we invest in support services and capital and infrastructure for working forests and forest products enterprises, this pillar of our economy grows stronger and we bolster both Vermont’s character and integrity.”
The WLEB announces the availability of over $1 million in grant funds for investment into farm, food systems, forestry, and forest products enterprises. Applicant Information Sessions are scheduled for November 4th, 5th, and 6th. Details can be found at http://workinglands.vermont.gov/webinar. Working Lands funds are available in three investment areas:
1. Agriculture, Forestry & Forest Products: Enterprise Investments - $3,000 - $20,000
APPLICATION DUE: 12/11/2013
Applicant Informational Sessions: November 5th and 6th, 4:30pm-6pm
Investment areas may include infrastructure, marketing, market development, business development and technical assistance to meet a need not already filled by existing programs.
2. Agriculture, Forestry & Forest Products: Working Lands Service Provider Grants - $10,000 - $150,000
LETTER OF INTENT DUE: 11/26/2013
FULL APPLICATION DUE: 2/28/2014
Applicant Informational Session: November 4th, 4:30pm - 6pm
Grants are available for service providers to provide the following types of technical assistance: Production training; Process improvements; Needs assessments/studies of baseline data critical to sector development; Professional and organizational development services; Product research services; Marketing assistance/market development; Business development; Financial planning; Access to capital; Regulatory assistance and training; Addressing workforce development need
3. Agriculture, Forestry & Forest Products: Capital and Infrastructure Investments - $15,000 - $75,000
LETTER OF INTENT DUE: 11/26/2013
FULL APPLICATION DUE: 3/07/2014
Applicant Informational Sessions: November 5th and 6th, 4:30pm - 6pm
Eligible activities include specialized personnel, access to land (acquisition or easements); building and equipment costs (e.g., processing, storage, distribution); long-term working capital, information technology; farm or forest based renewable energy business expansion; and other collaborative ventures that build capacity within the supply chain, open new markets, and/or create a replicable, innovative model.
Since WLEB began operations in August 2012, over 400 applications were received requesting over $12 million in funds. The WLEB granted over $1 million in 2013. At least $750,000 in public, private, or non-profit funds are being leveraged as a result of these projects:
• Twenty Enterprise grant recipients: 14 in agriculture and 6 in forestry were awarded $220,000. Enterprise grants ranged from $3,000 - $15,000.
• Eight Service Provider grant recipients: 6 in agriculture and 2 in forestry, for a total of $369,802. Service Provider grants ranged from $10,000 - $100,000.
• Eight Capital & Infrastructure grant recipients: 4 each in agriculture and forestry, for a total of $411,522. Capital and Infrastructure grants ranged from $15,000 - $100,000.
Applicant Information Sessions will be hosted at the following locations:
Nov 4th, 4:30pm - 6pm: Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, Montpelier
Nov 5th, 4:30pm - 6pm: Rutland Area Farm and Food Link (RAFFL), Rutland
Nov 5th, 4:30pm - 6pm: Northeastern Vermont Development Association, St. Johnsbury
Nov 5th, 4:30pm - 6pm: Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, Montpelier
Nov 6th, 4:30pm- 6pm: Brattleboro Development Corporation, Brattleboro
Nov 6th, 4:30pm- 6pm: Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, Montpelier
To access Applicant Information Sessions by webinar and for location details - http://workinglands.vermont.gov/webinar
To access our Working Lands Applicant Guides - http://workinglands.vermont.gov/apply/rfp
Noelle Sevoian, Agricultural Development Coordinator, Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, 802-585-9072, firstname.lastname@example.org