Program 101

Are applications being accepted? Yes.
 
Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA): PDF
 
What does this program do?
 
The Agriculture Innovation Center Program makes grants to Agriculture Innovation Centers that then provide technical and business development assistance to agricultural producers seeking to engage in making or producing Value-Added agricultural products.
 
Program Funding: $3.5 million.
 
Maximum Grant Amount: $1,000,000 (may be less at the discretion of the Agency).
 
Who may apply for this program?
Public bodies, institutions of higher education, nonprofit organizations and for-profit corporations.
 
Matching Funds Requirement:
Matching funds are required for at least one-third of the total project budget. For example, if the total project budget is $300,000, matching funds must be at least $100,000. Matching funds may be provided in cash by the applicant or a third party or in-kind by a third party. They must be available for use during the period of performance, and they must be used for allowable expenses.
 
How may funds be used?
Grant and matching funds may be used to operate an Agriculture Innovation Center and to provide the following services to agricultural producers:
 
Consulting services for legal, accounting and technical services to be used by the recipient in establishing and operating a Center.
Hiring employees for the Center.
Making of matching grants to agricultural producers.
Applied research.
Legal services.
Technical assistance to agricultural producers, including engineering services, scale production assessments, market planning and development, business planning, and other advisory services.
 
How do we get started?
Before you apply: 
Request a Data Universal Number System (DUNS) number if your organization doesn’t already have one. You should plan on requesting it at least a month before the application deadline because you’ll need that number for the next pre-application step (see below).
Register your organization with the System for Award Management (SAM) if you aren’t already registered. The registration is free. You need to complete several steps. It’s a good idea to start the registration process at least a month before any application deadline. Before you start the registration process, we suggest reading through the HELP materials available on the SAM website. Then, you’ll need to create an account. After you create your account by setting up a user ID and password, you can register your organization. Remember, you’ll need your DUNS number to complete your registration.  Also, make a note of your Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) code and expiration date because you’ll need those for your application.
 
Forms and Resources:
Select the Forms & Resources tab to access program forms and resource information.
 
Who can answer questions?
If you have questions, you can contact your nearest Rural Development Office.
 
Will I need to send any reports if I receive a grant?
If you receive a grant, you will need to send regular financial and performance reports. Your grant agreement will tell you how often you need to send the reports, what forms you need to use and what information you need to put in the reports.
 
Where can I get more information about the program?
Please read the Federal Register Notice for important information needed before applying for the grant. You can find the AIC Program regulations here: https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/retrieveECFR?gp=&SID=fdf4cef09dab0014153949...
 
Application Materials:
Below are optional tools you may use to put together your application for this program.  Please click on the Forms & Resources tab above to view the documents.
 
Application Template
Application Checklist
Verification of Matching Funds
Lobbying Certification
 
 
Required Forms:
SF-424 Application for Federal Assistance.
SF-424 Instructions.
SF-424A Budget Information.
SF-424B Assurances.
AD-3030 Representations Regarding Felony Conviction and Tax Delinquency Status for Corporate Applicants.
 
NOTE: If state-specific forms are not shown above, please refer to the application materials listed below to start the process of applying. Please ensure that your state is selected in the dropdown menu above to find the State Office contact information for this program and speak to a Business Programs Specialist before attempting to fill out any forms or applications. This will save you valuable time in the process.
 
Additional Requirement:
Please read the Federal Register notice for the details on what is needed for an application. Make sure you begin gathering the required information at least one month before the application deadline because you may need to provide letters of commitment or support from other organizations, a work plan and budget, and other information that will take you some time to research or write. You may also need to complete required forms. You can get copies of those forms from your nearest Rural Development office.

Forms & Resources

Required Forms

Please visit grants.gov for the family of Standard SF Forms and instructions.

Application Materials:

Below are optional tools that you can use to put together your application.  Note that you do not have to use these tools and the use of them does not guarantee funding or a higher score.  Additionally, if you note a conflict between the tool and the Federal Register Notice, the Notice always prevails.  Finally, the Application Template is set up with the required elements in a different order than they appear in the Notice.  This difference in order is not required; it is simply an option to group components so that the items more likely to need attachments or additional documentation are set up as Appendices at the end of the application.

Application Template | DOC
Application Checklist | DOC
Verification of Matching Funds | DOC
Lobbying Certification | DOC