Grants offered to improve water quality: Farmers can apply for $40K in funds
VERMONT — The Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program, a program of the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board (VHCB), has announced the availability of grant funds for on-farm capital improvement projects. Eligible farmers can apply for Water Quality Grants or Dairy Improvement Grants, both of which allow up to $40,000 in funding. Matching funds are required for both grants and may include federal or state grants as well as cash or loans. Upcoming application deadlines and eligibility requirements for both grant programs are available on the Viability Program website.
Water Quality Grants will help farmers make water quality-related capital improvements in on-farm infrastructure. VHCB is administering State of Vermont Clean Water funds for this program. The grants aid recipients with improvement costs required to comply with new regulations, and are designed to complement existing federal and state grant programs that address soil health and water quality.
To be eligible for Water Quality Grants, farmers must be subject to Vermont’s Required Agricultural Practices (RAPs) and have a minimum of $15,000 in gross farm income. Application materials will be available on VHCB’s Viability Program webpage on Sept. 1, and the first of three upcoming deadlines will be Oct. 13.
Funding for the Dairy Improvement Grants comes from Ehrmann Commonwealth Dairy, LLC, whose Brattleboro plant produces Green Mountain Creamery Greek yogurt from Vermont milk. To be eligible for Dairy Improvement Grants, farmers are required to provide a business plan and be members of the St. Albans Cooperative Creamery or Dairy Farmers of America, where Commonwealth sources milk for its yogurt production facility. Dairy Improvement Grants application materials will be available on VHCB’s Viability Program webpage on Sept. 1.
Viability Program grants help farmers leverage loan funds for projects or implement changes more quickly and effectively. Past projects funded with Dairy Improvement Grants have yielded significant improvements in cow comfort, quality of life, water quality, and farm viability. Two- thirds of grantees report improved on-farm efficiencies, and over half report improved milk quality and animal welfare.
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