In Grants for Farmers!
BY ROSLYN D. GOLDMACHER President and Chief Executive Officer
Long Island Development Corporation
I am constantly approached by Long Island small businesses seeking funding for their business. Typically, the solution is a loan—from a conventional or government related source. It is a rare occasion when I can refer them to a grant source. Here is one grant I recently came across for the agriculture industry: Farmers for the Future-LI Agricultural Capital Equipment Grant Program.
It is a NYS program which provides a grant up to 20% of cost (maximum $25,000) to qualified applicants for equipment and infrastructure. Who is eligible? A farm operation (agriculture or aquaculture business), for profit or not-for-profit, in Nassau or Suffolk which fits at least one of the following purposes: (a) start up farm operations (including second career, next generation or transitioning farmers with an operation less than 10 yrs. old); (b) established farm operation transitioning to a new commodity, method of production or new business model (i.e.: changing to organic, expanding into agritourism etc.); (c) established farm operation upgrading equipment and infrastructure to come into compliance with Food Safety Modernization Act or other food safety regulations. What is eligible? Projects must consist of eligible equipment and infrastructure.
Equipment includes (not limited to) produce washing stations, farm labor bathrooms, wildlife control (deer fencing), tractors & implements, processing equipment, irrigation equipment (pumps, engines, hoses), refrigeration equipment, wagons & other equipment for ag tourism, distribution equipment, composting equipment, soil/water/compost sampling equipment, aquaculture, equipment, etc. Infrastructure can consist of greenhouses, hoop houses, row covers, trellising, shade structures, barns and storage space, cold storage space, distribution space, etc. Basically, you apply for the grant with your plan, intended expenditures, description of total financing sources.
Once it is approved by NYS, you can go ahead and spend the money. Then you can receive reimbursement for up to 20% (max. $25,000) of the monies spent.
There is some equity required in the project but you can still receive the grant if you have financed part of it such as from Farm Credit East.
Another source of low cost loan financing is the NYS Targeted Loan Fund, which is available to farm operations (www.lidc.org; targeted loan fund).
How to apply? Go to www.peconiclandtrust.org and click on Farms for the Future, then on Agricultural Capital Equipment Grant. Or call 631-283-3195. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You will have to submit an application with various documents. Most importantly, in order to be eligible for the grant, you have to get approval before spending the money.
Roslyn D. Goldmacher, Esq. is Pres./CEO of the LI Development Corporation family of economic development lenders. For information on programs listed or other economic development resources for business, see www.lidc.org