Grant Programs And Financial Options For Farmers & Food Entrepreneurs

Wisconsin SARE is partnering with Extension, DATCP, USDA Rural Development, and the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute to hold two workshops designed to help farmers identify whether grants or other financial options might be right for them.

Small businesses and new startups create most of the new employment opportunity in the US.  Trying something new involves learning and levels of risk. Grants are used to help defray risk, encourage learning and entrepreneurship.  Wisconsin farmers have used grants to develop value-added enterprises, try out innovative production and marketing techniques, and educate other farmers and the public about sustainable agriculture. All focused upon improving net farm income which helps our rural economies.   But figuring out whether a grant program is right for you and working through the application can be intimidating.  This workshop will discuss when grants make sense and cover ways to plan your project and strengthen your application.

Specific grant programs to be covered include:

  • USDA’s Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program, which provides planning and working capital funds to farmers and farmer-based enterprises to develop and implement value-added ventures
  • USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) grant program, which funds research, and education projects that advance sustainable agriculture
  • USDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant (SCBG) program, which funds endeavors that enhance the competitiveness of Wisconsin Specialty Crops
  • Wisconsin’s Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin (BLBW) grant program, which funds projects that increase the demand for and supply of locally produced foods in Wisconsin
  • Other programs, including Wisconsin’s Farmer-led Watershed grants

In addition, the workshop will briefly cover USDA cost-share and loan programs for farmers.

Dates and Locations:

Tuesday, September 17th– Central WI – Marshfield, WI
To register, call  (715) 261 – 1230 x 2 or email  Early-bird registration closes on Sept 10th.

Thursday, September 26th– Southern WI – Dodgeville, WI
To register, call 608-930-9850 or email or  Early-bird registration closes on Sept 19th.

The $15 registration fee includes lunch and materials.  After the early bird deadline the cost of registration will be $20.  A limited number of scholarships are available if the cost of registration is a barrier.  Attendees who register by the early bird deadline may also request translation services.