Future in bloom

Grants can be one source of funding to allow a farmer or group of farmers the financial ability to take the next steps for an enterprise to move from concept to reality.

While there are many “rules” for successful grant writing, the most important one is that no one is going to award you a grant if you don’t take the time to apply.

So where do you apply? Who would want to give you money to make your idea a reality? Well let me just say that there are a lot of possibilities out there.

Each of the following either have or soon will have an active call for proposals. See if one fits your needs.

Farmers’ Market Promotion Program

The FMPP, also administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service, is intended for farmers’ markets and grower groups to expand their market reach by increasing sales directly to the consumer.

Farmers’ Market Promotion Program grants support direct producer-to-consumer marketing projects, such as farmers’ markets, community-supported agriculture programs, roadside stands and agri-tourism.

A series of webinars and in-person meetings will help applicants receive general training and one-on-one technical assistance with their grant applications. All 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. webinars will be accessible by phone and recorded for later viewing. Advance registration is not necessary but appreciated.

Persons may join webinars at purdue.webex.com or toll-free by telephone at 855-282-6330. The conference code is 641 782 559 and the password is “grant 16.” A list of session topics is available.

Additionally, a free workshop will be conducted from 1 to 6 p.m. Monday, April 4, at the Englewood Community Development Corporation, 57 North Rural St., in Indianapolis.

For more information about these grant programs, including their background, grant award periods and minimum and maximum award amounts, please visit ams.usda.gov/services/grants.

Value Added Producer Grant

The primary objective of the VAPG program is to help agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and marketing of bio-based products. Generating new products, creating and expanding marketing opportunities and increasing producer income are the end goals of this program. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis.

The call for proposals for this grant will be announced in the next few days.

2016 North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (NCR-SARE) Graduate Student Grant

Interested in sustainable agriculture?

Graduate students enrolled at colleges or universities in the North Central region can submit proposals for up to $12,000 to fund sustainable agriculture projects that will be part of their educational programs. Proposals must be submitted to the online system by 5 p.m. April 14.

Previously funded proposals have contributed to farmer or rancher profitability, environmental quality and the enhancement of the quality of life of farmers or ranchers, their communities and society as a whole.

Local Food Promotion Program

The LFPP grant is administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service office and is targeted at supply chain development for local food.

Local Food Promotion Program funding supports projects that develop, improve and expand local and regional food business intermediary supply chain activities, including processing, distribution, marketing, infrastructure, aggregation and storage of locally or regionally produced food products.

NCR-SARE Professional Development Program Grant

This grant provides funds for professional development projects that provide sustainable agriculture training to agricultural professionals and educators in the Cooperative Extension Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, other governmental agencies and educators in the profit and nonprofit sector serving the food and fiber system.

Projects can be up to three years in duration, and funding level is capped at $75,000 for each project, but projects requesting less than full amount are encouraged. Proposals are due at 4 p.m. CDT April 6.

Current information about these and other NCR-SARE grants can be found at northcentralsare.org/grants/our-grant-programs

Remember: If you don’t apply, you won’t be funded.