Montpelier, Vt.— Governor Phil Scott and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) today announced the Vermont COVID-19 Agriculture Assistance Program for dairy producers and processors who have experienced income loss, additional expenses and market disruption as a result of the pandemic. The application will open on Friday, July 17 with an available $25 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Funds for qualified applicants.
“The pandemic has taken a toll on our dairy farmers and processors who are the cornerstone of many rural communities,” said Governor Scott. “While we know there is still much more to do to help our dairy industry recover, these grants will provide much-needed relief to businesses as we work together to recover and rebuild.”
Vermont’s dairy sector has experienced steep declines in milk prices coupled with increased operating costs due to COVID-19. These grants will provide relief for producers as well as processors who make cheese, butter, yogurt, ice cream and other valued added dairy products and lost markets when restaurants, stores and other consumers were closed in response to the pandemic.
“Every dairy farmer and processor should look at this grant opportunity,” said VAAFM Secretary Anson Tebbetts. “COVID-19 has hit our dairy industry hard. These assistance dollars will help our dairy businesses recover from staggering losses due to this pandemic.”
VAAFM will oversee grant applications, which are open to applicants who can demonstrate economic losses and costs incurred since March 1, 2020 that are related to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
For details about the application process, requirements and qualifications, and to apply beginning Friday, July 17, visit: https://agriculture.vermont.gov/covid-19-information/vermont-covid-19-agriculture-assistance-program.
VAAFM will also provide grants to other agricultural and working lands producers and processors, and to Vermont’s agricultural fairs, through the Vermont COVID-19 Agriculture Assistance Program. These additional grant programs for those who have experienced economic losses and costs due to the COVID-19 public health emergency will be available soon and many will be administered in partnership with the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA).