Cover photo for Vermont Working Lands Meat Slaughter and Processing Development Grants

Vermont Working Lands Meat Slaughter and Processing Development Grants

Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Initiative

Closed November 1, 2021

Approximately 20% of Vermont’s working landscape is used for agricultural purposes, and 75% is forested. Vermont prospers and its unique sense of place thrives, in large part, because of intelligent investments in the people and enterprises that comprise its farm, food, and forest-based systems. Strong community engagement and support for the farm and forest sectors leads to enhanced quality of life for Vermont citizens and working lands business owners. The mission of the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative is to grow the economies, cultures, and communities of Vermont's working landscape. The Working Lands Enterprise Board (WLEB) achieves this by making essential, catalytic investments in critical leverage points of the Vermont farm and forest economy and facilitating policy development to optimize the agricultural and forest use of Vermont lands. The Working Lands Enterprise Initiative, Act 142, created the Working Lands Enterprise Fund (WLEF) and the WLEB. The WLEB is made up of private sector members throughout the supply chains of agriculture and forestry, and staff from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets; Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation; Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development; Vermont Housing & Conservation Board; Vermont Economic Development Authority; and Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund.



Business grantee organizations must be based in Vermont and registered with the Secretary of State at the time of application submission. All business ownership structures are eligible (e.g., Partnerships, Limited Liability Corporations, Sole Proprietorships, Cooperatives, Corporations, S Corporations, L3Cs; and/or nonprofits that are involved in the production of agriculture and/or forest products). Applicants must be in compliance with all state regulations (i.e., water quality, taxes, child support) and in good standing with the State of Vermont at the time of submitting an application and must remain so during the entire grant period. Previous recipients of Working Lands Business Grants in the amount of $20,000 or less are eligible to reapply for funding during Fiscal Year 2022. Previous recipients of Working Lands grants for more than $20,000 are not eligible to apply for further Working Lands funding until three years after the start date of their previous grant (i.e., FY19 and earlier grantees are eligible to apply this year). Applicants who have received Working Lands grants in the past will be asked to measure and report on the results of previously funded projects and demonstrate how continued funding will be used to grow or improve their operation. 

Eligible Projects:

Projects eligible for funding include:

  • Infrastructure improvements

  • Business growth – market development, marketing plans and/or sales strategy

  • Workforce training and development

  • Research and design

  • Energy focused projects

  • Business growth:

    • Increasing size of facility to enhance production, processing and/or distribution; addressing known/existing bottlenecks .

    • Market development: developing marketing plans and/or sales strategies, accessing new markets and securing new customers; brand development, including website design or upgrades; institutional and wholesale market expansion; costs associated with achieving humane and/or organic certification o Equipment infrastructure to support value-added production (e.g., smoker); expansion of current processing capacity; transitioning to new pack-size/labeling or enhancing production and/or manufacturing efficiencies; additional facility infrastructure to increase efficiency (e.g., hydraulic lifts).

    • Continued navigation beyond COVID-19: research and development/testing new systems or technologies; developing innovative solutions to production or management issues including accounting, tracking, and/or sales software, (e.g., e-commerce, home delivery or curbside pick-up)

    • Operations logistics: workplace modifications to meet worker safety protocols regulations for working lands enterprises compliance, automation to address production bottlenecks Growth strategy: new or expansion of current business operations, expansion of existing marketing strategy and/or consumer outreach, development of multi-year marketing plan and growth strategy of the industry represented, with intent to sell goods out of Vermont.

  • Workforce trainings to benefit the broader industry:

    • On-the-job training or apprenticeship opportunities, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HCAAP) plans and implementation,

    • Inventory, procurement, and pricing management

    • Basic meat cutting and cured meat operation, cut and wrap for case-ready products, value-added processing: grinding, casing, smoking, transforming meat and trimmings from cutting step to ready-to-eat products

    • Product development, sales, and marketing skills training

    • Local meat processing: farmer to processor to buyer; developing direct-to-consumer markets; developing direct-to-wholesale markets

  • Energy focused projects: related to energy efficiency or renewable energy generation; projects may include, but are not limited to: lighting, refrigeration/cooling, heat pumps, solar panels, low-energy water management, ventilation systems, and/or energy generation. Project costs can include equipment, installation, and/or technical assistance

Application Instructions

Applications must be submitted via the online grants management system, WebGrants, at between Tuesday, September 21st, 2021 at 12:00 PM (noon) and Monday, November 1st, 2021 at 11:59 PM. Paper applications will not be accepted. Application components are outlined below as they will appear in WebGrants. Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets staff are available to provide assistance during State of Vermont business hours, Monday - Friday, 7:45 AM to 4:30 PM. Please read the complete application guide at before requesting support. Please plan ahead, as assistance may not be available shortly before deadlines. Applicants will be contacted by email in January 2022 regarding the acceptance or denial of their application based on review and scoring criteria (see Section III. Application Review and Scoring).



November 1, 2021

Financial Instrument


Minimum Award Amount


Maximum Award Amount


Updated April 24, 2024

Image Credit: David George

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