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Agriculture Innovation Center Program

Closed
Funding for Fiscal Year 2022 Yet To Be Determined


What does this program do?

The Agriculture Innovation Center Program makes grants to agriculture innovation centers to provide technical assistance. The assistance is provided to agricultural producers to help them develop and market value-added agricultural products.

Program Funding: $8 million.

Maximum Grant Amount: $1,000,000 (may be less at the discretion of the Agency).

Who may apply for this program?

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 $1,500,000, matching funds must be at least $500,000. 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:

  • Business development services, including feasibility studies and business plans.
  • Market development services, including marketing plans, branding, and customer identification.
  • Financial advisory services, including assistance with preparing financial statements, and assessing financing options.
  • Process development services, including engineering services, scale production assessments, and systems development.
  • Organizational assistance, including legal and technical advisory services.
  • Value chain coordination, including connecting an agricultural producer to a distribution system, processing facility, or commercial kitchen.
  • Product development (excluding research and development), including concept testing, feasibility and cost analysis, product taste-testing, demographic and other types of consumer analysis, production analysis, and evaluation of packaging and labeling options.
  • Grants of $5,000 or less to agricultural producers for the above services, where the aggregate amount does not exceed $50,000.

How do we get started?

Before you apply: 

  • 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. 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 To Apply tab to access program forms and resource information.

Who can answer questions?
If you have questions, you can contact Gail Thuner at gail.thuner@usda.gov

Will I need to send any reports if I receive a grant?
Yes, you must send regular financial and performance reports. Your financial assistance agreement will explain how often to send the reports, what forms to use, and what information is mandatory.

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 Agriculture and Innovation Center regulations on the e-CFR.

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. Documents, such as letters of commitment, a work plan and budget, and other information, or support from other organizations, will take time to research or write. You can get copies of those forms from your nearest Rural Development office, or at grants.gov.

Required Forms:

Application Materials:

Below are optional tools that you can use to assemble 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
 

There are no additional requirements at the national level. If there are additional state-specific requirements, they will be listed above.

Gail Thuner: (202) 690-2426 or gail.thuner@usda.gov.

Honie Turner: (202) 401-0088 or honie.turner@usda.gov.

Persons with disabilities that require alternative means for communication should contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Target Center at (202) 720–2600 (voice).

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