Goat & Sheep Dairy Development Grant 

Grant Overview 

The Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE-DBIC) announces the Goat and Sheep Dairy Development Grant program. This program will strengthen and support the growth of the Northeast goat and sheep dairy sector through projects that address one of the following: 1) business viability, 2) market development, or 3) innovative approaches to production.  

Projects are expected to enhance the growth and viability of individual small ruminant businesses, as well as address gaps in technical assistance, improved supply chain partnerships, market access and growth, and long-term business viability.  

This program will fund two types of projects:  

  1. Individual Business Projects are for farmers or processors making necessary improvements to increase business viability, market development, or innovations in production.  Examples of eligible topics include: 
    • Engagement with a technical assistance provider or consultant to develop and implement business viability improvements around topics areas such as grazing management, cost of production, herd/flock health, business operations, farm transitions 
    • Business diversification and marketing 
    • Research and development of innovative solutions to production or management issues 
    • Trialing new systems or technologies 
    • Purchase of specialized dairy equipment that help optimize a business 
  2. Sector Enhancement Projects must directly engage multiple dairy businesses in activities which improve or expand small ruminant production practices or dairy markets. Projects should strengthen relationships across the goat/sheep dairy supply chain such as farmer-to-farmer, farmer-processor, or processor-customer relationships. Examples of eligible topics include: 
    • Development and implementation of tools, direct services, educational opportunities, or other resources for goat and/or sheep dairy farmers or processors that will support the growth of the sector. Topics areas could include grazing management, cost of production, herd/flock health, business operations, farm transitions 
    • Improving farmer access to resources 
    • Research and development of innovative solutions to production or management issues 
    • Initial investments to help buyers develop long-term methods for provide direct support or benefits to their suppliers to strengthen supply chain-relationships  
    • Development of supply chain opportunity  

Projects that engage with relevant technical assistance will be prioritized. Technical assistance includes business planners, grazing specialists, marketing professionals, small ruminant veterinarian services, and other business viability services. 

  • Individual business grants will range from $15,000 – $50,000 with a 25% cash and/or in-kind match commitment. 
  • Sector Enhancement projects will range from $25,000 – $75,000 with a 25% cash and/or in-kind match commitment. 
  • Total funds available: $760,000 

Eligibility 

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

Applicants eligible for these funds must fall into at least one of the following categories: 

  1. Dairy farmer (producer) that: 
    • currently produces goat or sheep milk, or will by the end of the grant if their grant project includes transitioning from cow dairy 
    • is headquartered or based in the Northeast; and  
    • produces milk within the Northeast; and  
    • is a licensed dairy operation in compliance with all required state and/federal standards
  2. Dairy processor that:  
    • currently transforms raw goat/sheep milk into an edible product; and 
    • is licensed in a way that their product can be sold across state lines; and 
    • is headquartered or based in the Northeast; and  
    • sources or produces milk that originates within the Northeast; and  
    • if a value-added processor, manufactures products within the Northeast.  
  3. Dairy producer association/dairy council which represents and promotes goat and/or sheep dairy products/dairy businesses of the Northeast region. Grant projects submitted by dairy producer association applicants should meet the requirements of a Sector Enhancement project.
  4. Technical assistance provider working directly with a group of goat/sheep dairy farmers and/or processors. Grant projects submitted by technical assistance provider applicants should meet the requirements of a Sector Enhancement project.

How to Apply 

  1. Review the full Goat and Sheep Dairy Development Grant RFA (request for applications) for the complete details on eligible projects/applicants and the full application process. 
  2. Register in WebGrants (may take up to two business days). 
  3. Complete your application in WebGrants using our Application Guide when it becomes available. The application will be open February 1 – June 6, 2024 at 2:00 pm ET. Please note that this grant application period has been extended from the original deadline. 
  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 Projects 

A similar grant program was released in 2021. Learn more about the six recipients of the 2021 grant program. Learn more about two of those projects on our blog: Vermont Shepherd Talks Sheep and Farm to Spoon: The Making of Local Goat Milk Gelato.

Have a Question about this Grant? 

Contact Kathryn Donovan

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