Choose Iowa grants match up to $25,000 per project to expand the availability of Iowa grown, Iowa raised, and Iowa made foods, beverages, and other ag products
DES MOINES, Iowa (Dec. 7, 2023) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today reminded Iowans to apply for Choose Iowa value-added grants ahead of the December 15 deadline. Choose Iowa grants can be used to expand the availability of Iowa grown, Iowa raised and Iowa made foods, beverages, and other agricultural products. These cost-share grants match up to $25,000 per project to help farmers, businesses, and non-profits increase or diversify their agricultural product offerings, which provide more local food choices to consumers.
“Choose Iowa is all about connecting consumers to more Iowa food and beverage products and these cost-share grants will build the supply of local foods to meet the growing market demand,” said Secretary Naig. “Whether someone wants to invest in adding value, diversifying offerings, or tapping into new markets, Choose Iowa grants can help farmers, small businesses and non-profits make that happen.”
Applicants can use Choose Iowa grant funding to add new processing, packaging or sales techniques that add value to the crops, livestock, and other products that they produce. For example, a farmer may invest in an on-farm store or cold storage to sell meat, eggs or produce direct to consumers, or a produce grower may upgrade their commercial kitchen to process larger quantities of seasonal produce at the peak of freshness. Grant funding can also be used for employee training and continuing education programs. Meat processing and dairy processing projects are not eligible for Choose Iowa value-added grants as separate dedicated grant funding programs are available for both. More information about the Butchery Innovation and Revitalization Program and Dairy Innovation Fund opportunities are available on the Choose Iowa website.
In its first two years, the Choose Iowa grant program received hundreds of applications totaling nearly $3.3 million in requests. Thirteen awardees were selected in 2022 including dairy farms, direct-to-consumer meat businesses, a food hub, a CSA, and a brewery, among others. Twenty-eight recipients were awarded in 2023 for projects ranging from increasing cold storage, to expanding processing proficiency and distribution capabilities, to improving production capacity and efficiency.
Individuals, businesses, and non-profit organizations that are currently living or operating in Iowa may apply for Choose Iowa value-added grants. Preference will be given to small to medium-sized businesses. Details about the grant program, including financial matching requirements, application, and eligibility, are available on the Choose Iowa website.
Applications should be submitted through the online portal on the Choose Iowa website and are due by 12:00 p.m. on December 15, 2023. Grant recipients will be announced in March 2024. Questions about Choose Iowa value-added grants can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.