Dairy Farm Improvement & Modernization Grant

Grant Overview

This grant program is available for dairy farmers or groups of farmers via technical assistance providers, producer associations, or milk buyers and will fund a wide range of projects that prioritize long-term farm viability and climate/economic resilience. Projects at all stages and levels of complexity will be considered, but the most competitive projects will include direct involvement of a service provider, business planner, farm succession planner, or technical assistance provider to demonstrate a strategic, long-term approach to their grant project investment. Projects that benefit more than one dairy farm will also be more competitive.

Project areas may address improvements in topics such as upgrades to outdated farm production practices or specialized equipment, including milking systems, animal comfort improvements, water and nutrition management, and manure handling; farm-scale appropriate technology improvements; development of green technologies; transition to group calf housing; creating new models for collaborative/cooperative milk production; increased new and young farmer engagement; alternative business ownership/management models; or creating a culture of continuous improvement, and beyond. Improvements made with this grant funding should result in climate resilience, improved ecological and/or economic resilience. Applicants should demonstrate how the project aligns with their plans for long-term viability of the farm.

Construction and general-purpose equipment purchases are not allowable costs. 

*This funding opportunity is currently closed. It is expected to open again in November 2024.* 

Awards

Awards will range from $15,000 – $100,000 with a 25% in-kind and/or cash match contribution.  

Current and former farmer participants from NE-DBIC funded Grazing Transition, Forage Enhancement, or Alternative Farm Management Technical Assistance cohorts will receive priority for $695,000 of the funds from this grant.  

Total funds available: $1,495,000 

Eligibility

Grants are available to applicants in all 11 Northeast states served by NE-DBIC: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont.  

Applicants eligible for these funds are one or more of the following:  

  1. Dairy farmers (producers) that: 
    • are headquartered or based in the Northeast; and  
    • produce milk within the Northeast; and  
    • are licensed dairy operations in compliance with all required state and/federal standards  
  2. Producer associations that represent, supports, or promotes dairy products originating from the Northeast 
    • For the purposes of this grant, a producer association group, also known as a trade association, industry trade group, business association, sector association, or industry body, is an organization founded and funded by businesses that operate in a specific industry. 
  3. Technical service providers (e.g., university extension or viability organizations) are eligible to apply if: 
    • The group of dairy businesses they will work with is clearly defined in the application; and  
    • The businesses receiving services are located in the Northeast. 
  4. Milk buyers/processors are eligible to apply if:
    • The project focuses on-farm milk production and/or increases the efficiencies of milk pickup and hauling; and
    • The group of farmers involved in the project is clearly defined in the application; and
    • The farms are located in the Northeast and produce milk in the Northeast; and
    • The milk buyer/processor is located in the Northeast

How to Apply

  1. Once it is released, review the full Dairy Farm Improvement & Modernization RFA (request for applications) for the complete details on eligible projects/applicants and the full application process. This RFA is expected to be released in November 2024. 
  2. Register in WebGrants (may take up to two business days). 
  3. Complete your application in WebGrants using our Application Guide. The application is currently closed. It is expected to open again in January 2025. 
  4. Applicants who do not already have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) through SAM.gov are strongly encouraged to start this process during the application period to ensure a timely start to their grant, if awarded.  

Previous Rounds

Review the 2023 Dairy Farm Improvement & Modernization Grant Request for Applications (RFA) for full details on previous rounds of this grant. The RFA will be updated and subject to change for 2025. 

Have a Question about this Grant? 

Have a question? Contact Ben.Eldredge@vermont.gov  

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