Choose Iowa Value-Added Grants
The Choose Iowa Grants exist to identify, evaluate and financially support programs and services that add value to agricultural products, enable new technologies and support alternative marketing strategies. These cost-share grants leverage additional private investment and were created to assist Iowa farmers, businesses and non-profits with their efforts to increase or diversify their agricultural product offerings, expand markets and shorten the supply chain.
- Be an individual, business, agricultural cooperative, non-profit organization or local government.
- Be in good standing with the State of Iowa.
- Currently reside or conduct business in Iowa.
- Increase sales of Iowa agricultural products by increasing production capacity or expanding market access for value-added projects.
- Not be in progress until a grant is awarded.
- Be completed in 12 months or less.
- Be conducted in Iowa.
Examples include but are not limited to:
- Purchase and installation of equipment used in the production of value-added agricultural products.
- On-farm store or commercial kitchen.
- Food hub development or expansion.
- Direct to consumer technology.
- Cooler walls and refrigeration units.
- Grading, packing, labeling, packaging or sorting equipment.
- Refrigerated trucks to access new markets.
- Food processing short courses and workshops.
- Equipment and infrastructure for meat processing (funding available through IEDA).
- Infrastructure for renewable fuels (funding available through IDALS-RFIP).
- Dairy processing and dairy labor-reducing technology (funding available through IDALS-Dairy Innovation Fund)
- Expenses incurred prior to grant award.
- Start-up costs such as inventory, license fees, working capital, etc.
- Costs associated with advertising, public relations, entertainment.
- Employee wages and benefits.
- Paying off existing debt, related collection costs or legal fees.
- Paying off existing fines, penalties or settlements for failure to comply with laws or regulations.
Grant Amount and Terms
Maximum grant awards shall not exceed $25,000.
- Applicants must provide a minimum of one-to-one (1:1) financial match from private sources such as cash, financing or other grant funds for total project costs. In-kind contributions are not accepted.
- Example: An individual applying for a grant of $5,000 must provide at least $5,000 from other sources.
- Additional points will be awarded to applicants that provide more than the required match amount.
Choose Iowa Grants are competitive and will be scored and awarded based on the following criteria:
- Impact on Iowa agriculture.
- Addresses goals of the Choose Iowa Grants.
- Business readiness, financial sustainability and experience.
- Detailed work plan and timeline.
- Budget and match.
- Measurable objectives.
All grants will be paid out on a reimbursement basis after projects are completed.
Preference will be given to small and medium-sized businesses.*
*The Iowa Economic Development Authority defines small-sized businesses as having less than 50 full-time employees, medium-sized businesses with 51-250 employees, and large businesses as more than 250 employees.
Consult your legal or financial advisor regarding financial or tax considerations for any funds received.
Applicants must apply for the Choose Iowa Grant through the online application portal. Applicants may submit supporting documents including quotes and estimates to supplement budget details as well as letters of support with their applications.
Applications are due no later than NOON on December 15, 2023.
October 17, 2023
- Choose Iowa Value-Added Grant application period opens
December 15 at NOON
- Choose Iowa Value-Added Grant application submission deadline
- Choose Iowa Value-Added Grant recipients are announced
After projects are completed
- Choose Iowa Value-Added Grant funds dispersed by reimbursement
Other grants administered by IDALS:
Other Iowa agriculture grant opportunities:
|Addresses goals of the Choose Iowa Grant |
- Increases sales of Iowa agricultural products.
- Increases market access, diversifies markets and/or increases processing capacity.
|Impact on Iowa agriculture |
- Plan to increase sales of Iowa agricultural products is achievable.
- Amount of Iowa agricultural products to be increased is realistic.
- Increase is appropriate for the size of the grant request.
- Project has the potential to impact many farmers.
- Project has both short-term and long-term impact, including jobs and investments in Iowa.
|Business readiness, financial sustainability and experience |
- Applicant demonstrates sound business management, financial aptitude and stability.
- Applicant describes the financial benefit of doing the grant project.
- Applicant demonstrates a need for grant funding.
|Budget and match |
- Budget clearly details all project costs.
- Budget clearly explains source and amount of applicant’s funds for private match.
- Budget is cost effective and planned purchases are backed by quotes or other sources.
|Work plan and timeline |
- Work plan is thorough and realistic.
- A detailed description of each step of the project is provided with estimated dates.
|Measurable objectives |
- Describes how the project will achieve objectives of the grant program to benefit the business and agriculture community.
- Objectives of project are measurable and clearly stated.
Grant Award Timeline
|Grant program announce / application period opens||October 17, 2023|
|Grant application deadline||December 15, 2023|
|Committee scores applications||Dec. 2023-Jan. 2024|
|Awardees notified, agreements issued||February 2024|
|Awardees announced||March 2024|
|Funds dispersed to awardees||By reimbursement|
Program Guidelines Handout
Dairy Innovation Fund Grant
Work is underway to develop program details for the new Dairy Innovation Fund program, which will award financial assistance through low interest loans and grants to eligible businesses engaged in projects that do one or more of the following:
- Expand or refurbish existing milk plants or establish a new milk plant.
- Expand or refurbish existing mobile dairy processing units or establish new mobile dairy processing units.
- Rent buildings, refrigeration facilities, freezer facilities or equipment necessary to expand dairy processing capacity, including mobile dairy or refrigeration units used exclusively for dairy processing.
- Incorporate methods and technologies that reduce farm labor associated with milk production and storage, including but not limited to the use of robotics and processes or systems that operate using computerized equipment or machinery.
According to the bill, priority will be given to eligible businesses whose proposed project will:
- Create new jobs.
- Create or expand opportunities for local small-scale milk producers to market pasteurized milk and milk products under private labels.
- Provide greater flexibility or convenience for local small-scale farmers to have milk processed.
- Reduce labor associated with the on-farm production and storage of milk.
Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program (RFSI)
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is partnering with USDA on the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure (RFSI) program to make competitive subawards to support infrastructure in the middle of the supply chain for domestic food and farm businesses and other eligible entities. The purpose of RFSI is to build resilient in the middle of the food supply chain, to provide more and better markets to small farms and food businesses, to support the development of value-added products for consumers, fair prices, fair wages, and new and safe job opportunities. RFSI program information is still being developed and details will be available soon.