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Grants, Financial Assistance and Services

Grants for agriculture, conservation, or rural development are designed to accomplish specific objectives. Grant requirements for agriculture generally are for existing farm operations. For purchasing a farm or for operational expenses, loans are available. For information on sources of agricultural loans, contact Karen Kritz, Agribusiness Development Representative at (609) 984-2506.

Agricultural Grant and Assistance Opportunities:

Soil and Water Conservation Grants
Farmers Market Promotion Grants
Farmers Market Resource Guide
Garden State Dairy Alliance
New Jersey Agri-Tourism Assistance
New Jersey Junior Breeder Loan Fund
Deer Fencing Program
Disaster Assistance
Value Added, USDA Rural Development
Value Added Tools for Ag Producers
Federal State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP)
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE)
First Pioneer Farm Credit (AgEnhancement)
Energy Programs
Farm Bill Programs
Farming Opportunities in New Jersey
Transferring the Family Farm
Animal Health Services
More Grants Links

Soil and Water Conservation Grants

The State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC) provides cost-sharing grants to landowners in the permanent or eight-year preservation programs to fund approved soil and water conservation projects. These projects not only protect soil and water resources, but increase productivity and profitability for the farmer. Projects include terrace systems; diversions; water impoundment reservoirs; irrigation systems; sediment retention, erosion or water control systems; drainage systems; animal waste control facilities; and land shaping and grading.

Farmers Market Promotion Grants
The grants, authorized by the USDA's Farmers Market Promotion Program, are targeted to help improve and expand domestic farmers markets, roadside stands, community-supported agriculture programs and other direct producer-to-consumer market opportunities.

Farmers Market Resource Guide
The United States Department of Agriculture and Farmers Market Consortium have released a guide which lists grants, programs and other financial and information resources available from public and private organizations to promote farmers markets by sharing practical information about funding and other resources that are available.

Farmers Market Resource Guide
Farmers Market Consortium

Garden State Dairy Alliance

The Garden State Dairy Alliance offers New Jersey dairy farmers and supporting industries the comprehensive resources and assistance from the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, and Rutgers Cooperative Extension. The alliance will work to help sustain a viable and thriving dairy industry in New Jersey.

New Jersey Agri-Tourism Advisory Council

The Council is charged with researching current and potential agri-tourism opportunities and making recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture on ways to expand and promote agri-tourism in New Jersey. With farmers facing rising costs and stagnent commodity prices, agri-tourism offers an importan opportunity to generate additional farm income and keep farms economically viable. To assist in the development of the agri-tourism industry, the Department will be focusing on three major objectives: developing strategic partnerships, consumer promotion and industry education.

For More Information, visit the Agri-tourism Links Page:

New Jersey Junior Breeder Loan Fund

The New Jersey Junior Breeders' Loan Program is a dedicated
funding program that enables the agricultural youth of New Jersey to secure funds, purchase livestock, establish production projects and keep accurate records. The program is based on a promissory note system, with monies to be paid back to the fund with interest. The program requires no other security other than the word of the borrower.

For a loan application:

Rate Schedule and Loan Information:

Deer Fencing Program
Memo to Applicant
Deer Fence Eligibility Criteria
Deer Fence Application
Deer Fence Fact Sheet

The New Jersey Department of Agriculture provides assistance to farmers experiencing crop damage caused by deer. The cost-share program, in which the farmer would bear part of the cost and the responsibility for installation, provides fencing material, plus up to 30 percent of the line posts at no
cost to qualified farmers.

Disaster Assistance

Emergency Programs for Disaster Assistance, 2003-2005: In October 2004, President Bush signed disaster and drought legislation that provides more than $3 billion in financial relief to farmers, ranchers, foresters, and other agricultural producers who incurred losses due to weather conditions in recent years. The legislation funds new and existing programs administered by the USDA's Farm Service Agency.

Emergency Conservation Program: USDA Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) provides emergency funding and technical assistance for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters and for carrying out emergency water conservation measures in periods of severe drought.

Crop Insurance Information: The USDA sponsored crop insurance program is a public/private partnership that provides protection nationally for over 100 crops, including limited protection plans for ag animal production.

The Garden State Crop Insurance Education Initiative: http://salem.rutgers.edu/cropinsurance/
Risk Management Agency, USDA: www.rma.usda.gov

Coping with Disasters: The emotional impact of a disaster can have a powerful effect on the mental health of individuals of all ages. If you notice that a loved one, friend or co-worker's behavior has substantially changed, reach out and ask them how they are doing. Please refer to the NJ Dept. of Human Services, Division of Mental Health website for more information: www.disastermentalhealthnj.com

If you or someone you know is having a strong emotional reaction that does not subside, trained counselors are available at toll-free 877-294-HELP, to discuss your/their thoughts and feelings.

Federal State Marketing Improvement Program

Provides matching funds to State Departments of Agriculture to assist in exploring new market opportunities for food and agricultural products, and to encourage research and innovation aimed at improving the efficiency and performance of the marketing system.

The Agricultural Marketing Service awards approximately 25 to 35 grants each year averaging $50,000 per grant. Requests for FSMIP funds must be matched, at a minimum, on a one-on-one basis, from non-Federal sources which includes in-kind services. The deadline for submitting FY 2004 applications was February 13, 2004. Look for FY 2005 grant announcements near the end of 2004.

First Pioneer Farm Credit

The AgEnhancement Program is an ongoing educational campaign that supports the food and fiber industries in the Northeast. Since 1996, the Farm Credit AgEnhancement Program has awarded more than $400,000 in grants to organizations. Eligible programs are ones that promote the food and fiber industries in any of the following ways: encourage leadership, develop a greater understanding of agriculture, recognize the accomplishments of agricultural leaders, study the economic viability of agriculture, or promote interest in the industry.

Priority is given to programs that impact the Northeast. Statewide and regional projects are also eligible. Awards range from $1,000 to $5,000. Proposals are considered three times per year: April 1, August 1, and December 1.

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE)

SARE is a USDA competitive grants program with regional programs and regional leadership. SARE supports research and education that helps build the future economic viability of agriculture in the United States. SARE funding is authorized under Subtitle B of Title XVI of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of 1990.

Farmer/Grower Grants:
The goal of the program is to help farmers shift to practices that are environmentally sound, profitable, and beneficial to the wider farm community. Proposals can address a broad range of agricultural or farm-forestry issues, and successful projects offer an innovative approach that could be adopted by other farmers. You must be a commercial farmer to apply. You need not be farming full time, but your operation should have an established crop or product that you sell on a regular basis. Grants awards average $5,000 and there is a $10,000 cap. Projects normally run one year, although multiyear projects are not excluded. Application deadline is in December.

Partnership Grants: This grant is for Cooperative Extension, Natural Resource Conservation Service personnel, non-profits, and agricultural consultants who work directly with farmers. Grants are used for on-farm research and demonstration projects that address sustainability, and must be conducted in partnership with at least one farmer. The goal of the program is to develop demonstration projects and research results that other farmers can learn from; these projects and demonstrations should address sustainability issues that are important in the Northeast. The SARE portion of the grant is capped at $10,000 and both single and multiyear projects will be considered. Application deadline is in December.

Professional Development Grants: SARE funds professional development projects that help Cooperative Extension educators and other agricultural professionals learn and transmit the knowledge needed to help farmers move toward greater sustainability. The focus is on training the trainers, disseminating sustainable practices and technologies, advancing new training strategies, and building an educational delivery system that is directly linked to improved agricultural sustainability. Projects should address the wise use of resources, the health and profitability of farms and farm communities, and should offer measurable outcomes.

Anyone can apply. Applicants should have experience offering professional development programs to the agricultural community and should also demonstrate a firm grasp on current issues and barriers to sustainability. Past projects have come from extension, agricultural nonprofits, land-grant universities, coalitions brought together specifically for the project, and private consulting firms.

Projects are typically funded for between $15,000 and $120,000 and multiyear projects are common. A preproposal – a one-page outline of you project and its performance targets – is due in the spring. If you are invited to submit a full proposal, the deadline is in October.

Research and Education Grants: SARE funds research and education projects that lead to farmers adopting sustainable practices; the emphasis is on improved farming practices and an enhanced quality of life for farmers and rural communities. Typically, farmers and other stakeholders are involved in planning, implementing, and evaluating the project. SARE also funds projects where research, Cooperative Extension, and education are closely linked.

Anyone can apply. Applications are expected to shoe a clear understanding of the issues and barriers to sustainability in the region and offer a project that addresses them directly and coherently. Strong applications most often arise from consultation with diverse interests – land-grant universities, farmers, nonprofits, extension, and agribusiness – and offer evidence that the need for the project is compelling. Profitability, stewardship, and farm health and viability are key themes, and measurable outcomes are expected.

Projects are typically funded for between $30,000 and $150,000, and multiyear projects are common. A preproposal – a one-page outline of the project and its performance targets – is due in the spring. If you are invited to submit a full proposal, the deadline is in October.

Value-Added, USDA Rural Development

USDA Rural Development’s mission is to deliver programs in a way that will support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents. As a venture capital entity, Rural Development provides equity and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technology infrastructure. Further information on rural programs is available at the New Jersey Rural Development office (856) 787-7700.

Value-Added Producer Grants: Currently, the program is intended to assist independent agricultural producers and producer groups with marketing value-added agricultural products. The grants are to be used for planning activities such as feasibility studies and development of business plans as well as for working capital by start-up businesses. Matching funds are a requirement and must be equal or greater than the amount of the grant. Notice of funds availability inviting applications for the value-added grant program is expected during the summer of 2005. The New Jersey Rural Development office must receive applications within 45 days of the notice.

Planning grants are planning activities such as conducting feasibility studies and developing business and marketing plans for the marketing of a value-added agricultural product. The planning application needs to spell out the nature of the proposed venture, qualifications of those doing the studies, project leadership, commitment, work plan/budget, amount of grant funds requested, and project cost per producer that are owners.

Working Capital grants are to operate a venture and pay the normal expenses associated with producing a value-added product. Funds cannot be used to purchase or build facilities nor to purchase or install processing equipment.

Value-Added Tools for Ag Producers

Beginning in February 2005, farmers raising unique or organic crops can use an interactive website through the Agricultural Marketing Resource Center (AgMRC) for creating or expanding their value-added agriculture businesses.Through the site, growers will be able to better assimilate information on their products for attracting buyers. It will feature an online tutorial to aid farmers and ranchers in understanding how to produce food under international quality control systems. The main AgMRC website also provides an extensive directory of resources, such as consultants and state contacts, to aid farmers.

Energy Programs

New Jersey Clean Energy Program: Provides financial incentives (rebates of 30% - 70% of system costs) to owners who install qualifying clean energy generation systems such as fuel cells, photovoltaics (solar electricity), small wind and sustainable biomass equipment.

Green Energy: Information about renewable energy is availabe on the New Jersey Department of Agriculture's website. The site explains the various green energy components: sun, wind, and renewable fuels - biogas, biodiesel, and ethanol. It also gives the rationales for turning to green energy sources. The site contains many links to obtain further information on green energy, as well as links to the studies used in determining the Department's positions.

Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program: This program currently funds grants and loan guarantees to agricultural producers and rural small business for assistance with purchasing renewable energy systems and making energy efficiency improvements. New for 2006, the program offers both grants and guaranteed loans for eligible projects. In addition, projects with total eligible costs under $200,000 can apply under a Simplified Application Process designed to streamline the application process for small projects.

Biomass Research and Development Initiative Grants: Up to $15 million is available through the United States Departments of Agriculture and Energy to support the President's energy plan to develop renewable energy and expand the economic prospects and environmental benefits of biomass. These grants are available to eligible entities to carry out research, development and demonstrations on biobased products, bioenergy, biofuels, biopower and related processes. This funding opportunity is intended to promote greater innovation and development related to biomass, and to support Federal policy calling for greater use of biomass-based products, feedstock production, and processing and conversion. The focus of this year’s grant program is on development and demonstration projects that lead to greater commercialization.
To apply: www.fedgrants.gov/Applicants/USDA/NRCS/2890/67-3A75-5-22/Attachments.html#upload4211
For more details: www.bioproducts-bioenergy.gov

New Jersey SmartStart Building: Can be implemented when starting a commercial or industrial project from the ground up, renovating existing space, or upgrading equipment. SmartStart Buildings can provide a variety of free support to yield substantial savings in the short and long term. If an interested party contracts with an outside firm to implement a full-phase energy audit, the utility can pay up to 50 percent of the study cost with a maximum reimbursement of $10,000. www.njsmartstartbuildings.com/main/program_over.html

Motor-Up Premium Efficiency Initiative: Combines cash rebates, end user education and motor management tools for qualified motors.


Funding through the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development may be available for programs that will assist in upgrading the skills and productivity of the agricultural workforce.

Customized Training Initiative: Designed to create and retain a well trained and highly skilled workforce. This program can help employers tailor training programs to improve their workers' production capabilities and, in turn, their bottom line. Examples include training on specialized machinery, literacy, and basic skills or learning to use a personal computer.

Basic Skills Program: Designed to teach basic reading comprehension, math, English proficiency, computer, language and work readiness skills.

Occupational Safety and Health Training Program: Funds are used to provide occupationally related safety and health training to workers and students participating in occupational or school careers training. Trainers will visit the farm site, review existing safety measures and suggest alternative for OSHA compliance. Because the Department of Labor and Workforce Development proactively works with the farmer, OSHA audits may be exempted for that period for the farmer.

Youth Transition to Work (YTTW): YTTW is a well-established partnership of the Department of Labor, Department of Education, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training, and the state AFL0-CIO. The programs provides funding to employers, organized labor and schools to implement school to registered apprenticeship tranisition programs. Apprenticeship consists of structured on the job training and classroom instruction.

New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program (NJMEP): MEP is a nationwide network of resources transforming manufacturers to compete globally, supporting greater suypply chain integration and providing access to technology for improved productivity. MEP has 350 centers nationwide that work directly with area manufacturers to provide expertise and services tailored to their most critical needs, which range from process improvements and worker training to business practices and applications of information technology. Solutions are offered through a combination of direct assistance from center staff and outside consultation.

Farm Bill Programs

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP): Provides technical and financial assistance to farmers/producers to address the agricultural impacts on water quality and to maintain and improve wildlife habitat. CRP practices include the establishment of filter strips, riparian buffers and permanent wildlife habitats.

Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP): Provides technical, financial, and educational assistance to farmers/producers for conservation practices that address natural resource concerns, such as water quality. Practices under this program include integrated crop management, grazing land management, well sealing, erosion control systems, agri-chemical handling facilities, vegetative filter strips/riparian buffers, animal waste management facilities and irrigation systems.

Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP): Designed to address the restoration of previously farmed wetlands. Easements are purchased for a 10-year, 30-year, or permanent duration. www.nj.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/wrp/

Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP)
: Assists landowners with habitat restoration and management activities specifically targeting fish and wildlife, including threatened and endangered species.

Grassland Reserve Program (GRP): Offers landowners the opportunity to protect, restore, and enhance grasslands on their property.

Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA): Provides cost-share assistance to agricultural producers to address risk management concerns linked to water management, water quality and erosion control issues.

Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP): Provides cost-share assistance and rental/incentive payments to agricultural producers for the installation and maintenance of conservation practices (buffers, filter strips) on agricultural lands that are currently cropped and located adjacent to waterbodies.

Transferring the Family Farm

Ressources for those interested in leasing, selling, or transferring farmland to another person or family member.

Animal Health Services

Current NJDA Programs for New Jersey Dairy Producers

Additional Services For the Dairy Industry

More Grants Links

Grants.gov: This website allows organizations to electronically find and apply for competitive grant opportunities from all Federal grant-making agencies. Grants.gov is THE single access point for over 900 grant programs offered by the 26 Federal grant-making agencies.

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