Agriculture Innovation Center Program


What does this program do?

The Agriculture Innovation Center Program makes grants to Agriculture Innovation Centers that may be used by the Centers to provide technical assistance to agricultural producers to help them develop and market value-added agricultural products using a variety of options, except joint marketing efforts.

Program Funding: $7.4 million.

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

Who may apply for this program?
Public bodies, Federally-Recognized Indian Tribes, 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 $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:

  • Financial advisory services related to the development, expansion, or operation of a business owned by an agricultural producer;
  • Process development services, such as engineering services, scale production assessments, and systems development;
  • Organizational assistance, including legal and technical advisory services;
  • Outreach assistance; and
  • Technical assistance for product development (excluding research and development).

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 Agriculture and Innovation Center regulations on the e-CFR.

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

Required Forms:

  • SF-424 Application for Federal Assistance.
  • SF-424 Instructions.
  • SF-424A Budget Information.
     

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.

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
 

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

Honie Turner: (202) 401-0088
Gail Thuner: (202) 690-2426

Upcoming Webinars

A virtual Listening Session will be held on October 5, 2021, from 2-4 pm Eastern Time. To view the details for the Listening Session, including how to register, please view the Federal Register notice here. Please contact Gail.Thuner@usda.gov for additional information. | Register.

A Request for Information has also been opened. Comments are due by October 25, 2021 through www.regulations.gov. To view the details about the questions that we have asked for feedback on as well as the process to submit comments, please view the Federal Register notice here.

Recordings of Past Webinars

Applying for an Agriculture Innovation Center Grant Webinar – Wednesday, August 4th  | Recording

Applying for an Agriculture Innovation Center Grant Webinar – Thursday, August 12th | Recording Available Soon