The Maryland Agricultural and Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation is offering a grant funding opportunity to encourage Maryland's agricultural producers to expand or diversify their business operations. It's called the Maryland Value Added Producer Grant (Capital Assets Option).
"Farm operations face major challenges in paying for the necessary capital equipment or improvements to real property," says Stephen McHenry, Executive Director of MARBIDCO. "Those up-front costs often are just too much for many small producers. Yet for many, a very small amount of matching equity capital could make a huge difference in their business success."
Eligible applicants must be a crop or livestock producer or processor, agricultural cooperative, seafood processor, or timber products processor, and have been in business for a minimum of two years. The grants are designed to help producers and processors purchase new equipment or construct facilities so that they can increase sales and job opportunities.
Applicants can receive up to $20,000 for projects such as production buildings and major fixtures, livestock or seafood processing facilities, fruit or vegetable processing facilities, timber or wood products facilities, and manure digesters. Cash matching funds are required, and must be at least equal to the amount of grant funds requested.
The match required from the rural business must be at least equal the amount requested from MARBIDCO, bites McHenry. A total of $160,000 is available for distribution in Fiscal Year 2012. Here's what's required:
Provide proof of matching funds.
Tax returns, including a Schedule F, Form 1120S, or Schedule C, for the most recent past year.
Agree to a site inspection prior to final approval of this application. If the application is approved and monies are awarded, you also must agree to site inspections during project construction.
Provide a detailed business plan to demonstrate how the production facility or business operation will remain ongoing for at least seven years and show what impact the improvements will have via projected increased sales, retained or additional jobs, etc.
The business plan must provide detailed project information including the market(s) to be served and project cost estimates.
You must possess, or be actively seeking, the appropriate government permit(s).
The submission deadline for MVAPG-Capital Assets Option grants from MARBIDCO is Monday, October 3, 2011 by 4:00 p.m. Grant award announcements will be made on or about October 28, 2011..
Visit the MARBIDCO website for more information and to download the MVAPG application form: http://www.marbidco.org/applications.html. Questions about the MVAPG-Capital Assets Option may also be addressed by contacting Kristen Robinson, MARBIDCO Financial Programs Officer, at (410) 267-6807.