(The Center Square) – Iowa farmers, businesses and nonprofits can apply for up to $25,000 per project in Choose Iowa Marketing and Promotion matching grants, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship announced Monday.
The grants must be applied to projects that will “increase sales of Iowa agricultural products by increasing production capacity or expanding market access for value-added projections” that will be completed within 18 months, a fact sheet on the program said. They can include employee training or continuing education programs. Dairy farmers could invest in on-farm processing or packaging equipment to sell cheese to grocery stores and farmers markets, the release said.
“Iowa farmers have a legacy of producing healthy, high-quality and affordable food and agriculture products,” Secretary Mike Naig said in the news release. “The Choose Iowa grant program provides resources and support for farmers to make business investments in equipment or technology that allow them to tap into new markets and sales channels. These investments will also make it easier for consumers to find and purchase Iowa-grown products.”
To be eligible for a grant, applicants must be currently living or operating in Iowa. Small- and medium-size businesses will receive priority, the release said.
Details about the grants, requirements, and applications are at chooseiowa.com/grant-program. The deadline for submitting applications through the online portal is 5 p.m. December 15. Grant recipients will be announced in early January or February 2022, the fact sheet said. Anyone with questions can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Farmers’ challenges this year have included seven-year high gas costs and cost of living increases. Topsoil and subsoil moisture levels were predominantly adequate (57%, 46% respectively) and short (34%, 38% respectively) in the past week, Monday’s Iowa Crop Progress and Condition Report said. Pasture condition was 30% good to excellent and soybean harvest reached 70% and is a week ahead of the 5-year average, the report said.