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We are excited to announce a new partnership with the Montana Department of Agriculture, the Montana Food & Ag Development Centers, and the Community Food & Agriculture Coalition to offer mini-grants to specialty crop producers across Montana.

Mini-Grants have been fully expended for 2017. Please click here to sign up for our e-newsletter to be notified when mini-grant funds are available again in the future.

Goals

April.main LydiasBrocolliMoellerGrow and diversify the group of farmers participating in the state's specialty crop industry by removing hurdles to farmer entry into the market by helping farmers to:

  • Identify the right community resources to support them in business development
  • Access funding to start, expand, or enhance their specialty crop venture

Ultimately, we want the purpose of the grant to enhance your business, not just sustain it.

Applicant Eligibility

  • Beginning farmers (less than 10 years of experience). Other types of applicants may be eligible on a case-by-case basis (e.g. agricultural and food co-ops, schools, nonprofits, etc.).
  • Note: more established farmers will be held to higher standards in terms of the innovativeness of the planned project.
  • Crops: fruits, vegetables, peas and lentils, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture) - view the list of commonly considered crops for additional information.
  • Aquaponics and livestock may be considered as long as they are part of a specialty crop operation and the focus of the project is on the specialty crops and not the fish/livestock.
  • Eligible plants must be intensively cultivated and used by people for food, medicinal purposes and/or aesthetic gratification to be considered specialty crops.
  • Processed products shall include greater than 50% specialty crops by weight, exclusive of added water.
  • No collateral required.
  • No on-farm experience required.
  • Bankability will not be considered.

    ChadHarder Beans

Eligible Uses of Funds

Grant requests may range from $1,000 - $5,000; smaller grants are encouraged and average grant size is expected to be around $2,000. Note: the list below is not inclusive. If you have a project you're considering, email Annie Heuscher at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to see if the project would fit.

  • Supplies: items with an acquisition cost less than $5,000
  • In limited occassions, special purpose equipment may be eligible (used only for technical activities), i.e. harvesters, vegetable washing machines, processing equipment, etc. when the total price (including acquisition or shipping) is less than $5,000.

 Ineligible Uses of Funds

  • Purchase of equipment (including tractors), buildings, or land
  • General purpose equipment, i.e. office equipment, vehicles, etc. (equipment that can be used for purposes other than specialty crop production)
  • Promotion or packaging supplies for a single farm or business entity
  • Others as outlined by the Specialty Crop Block Grant program

Example Projects (not to be considered priorities)

  • Trees, seeds, other plant stock and supplies (may be purchased without insurance)
  • Supplies to build innovative on-farm equipment or infrastructure that directly enhances specialty crop production
  • Innovative projects that will bring new information and ideas to Montana's specialty crop producerschard and onion2

How to Apply:

 

Mini-Grants have been fully expended for 2017. Please click here to sign up for our e-newsletter to be notified when mini-grant funds are available again in the future.

 

Follow-Up

A key element of this mini-grant program is in the follow-up stage. CFAC will conduct a follow-up conversation with each grantee within a couple of months and will use pictures, designs, videos, and info from the conversation to develop project success stories that will be shared locally and nationally to enhance the specialty crop industry. These success stories will be made available electronically on the CFAC, Farm Link, and MDA websites and in print formats.

 

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