USDA Announces the 2023 Agricultural Innovation Center Program
USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small announced the availability of $8 million for the Agricultural Innovation Center Program. The USDA is accepting applications for grants to establish and operate Agricultural Innovation Centers (AIC).
What is the program’s purpose? The purpose of this program is to establish and operate Agriculture Innovation Centers (Centers) that provide technical and business development assistance to Agricultural Producers seeking to engage in developing and marketing of Value-Added Agricultural Products.
What are the anticipated funding amounts and duration? Awards are expected to range in size from $600,000 to $1 million; a match of at least one-third of the total budget is required. Recipients are expected to complete their projects within the required timeframe of three years.
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.
Who is eligible to apply?
Eligible applicants are state and local governments, federally-recognized Indian tribes, institutions of higher education, nonprofit organizations, and commercial organizations.
When is the application deadline? Applicants must submit applications electronically via Grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on March 6, 2023. USDA encourages applicants to submit their applications at least two weeks prior to the application deadline to ensure all certifications and registrations are met.
The full Request for Applications can be found here.
Morrison has extensive experience writing successful applications for clients for USDA programs. For more information on this grant or how to apply with Morrison’s assistance, please contact the Morrison Grants Team by email at email@example.com or call us at 530-893-4764.