CARES Act Grant Funding

This has been a tough year for the agriculture community. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has allocated CARES Act funds for agricultural recovery programs. The Renewable Fuels Retailers Recovery, Meat Processing Expansion and Local Protein and Produce programs will help our farmers, renewable fuels retailers and producers, and small meat processors as they recover from this pandemic.

Meat Processing Expansion and Development Program  |  Farm Produce and Protein Program  |  Iowa Renewable Fuel Retail Recovery Program

The Iowa Economic Development Authority is administering programs related to the Iowa Livestock Producer Relief Fund, the State Biofuel Grant Program, and the Iowa Beginning Farmer Debt Relief Fund. Producers can apply for IEDA-administered programs at iowabusinessrecovery.com beginning on Aug. 31, 2020.


Meat Processing Expansion and Development Program

Business Improvement Grant

The business improvement grant will reimburse meat and poultry processors for expenses incurred (up to $50,000) to purchase or upgrade equipment. Eligible expenses must allow the facility to increase its processing capacity to accommodate the increased demands brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. In some cases, these upgrades may help a custom-exempt slaughter plant prepare to become an official plant, or help an official plant make the upgrades necessary to qualify for the Cooperative Interstate Shipment program.

To be eligible for a business improvement grant, the applicant must represent an official or custom-exempt slaughter and processing plant that is licensed and inspected by the Iowa Department of Agriculture, a federally-inspected plant with 25 or less full-time employees, or an Iowa-accredited meat science education program. The expenses must be incurred between March 1 and Dec. 1, 2020. Applications are due Sept. 7, 2020.

Direct Marketing Grant

The direct marketing grant will reimburse livestock producers for a portion of the expenses incurred (up to $2,000) to produce materials, develop services, or purchase equipment to help transition to a direct-to-consumer sales strategy. This may include developing an online sales platform, an alternative sales plan, or another project that would help their farm continue selling their meat products during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Producers that direct-market less than 200 livestock or 2,000 poultry per year are eligible for this grant. The expenses must be incurred between March 1 and Dec. 1, 2020. Applications are due Sept. 7, 2020.

Tuition Grant

The grant will reimburse owners or employees of state-inspected and licensed meat and poultry establishments who attend and successfully complete a HACCP training program by an accredited program in meat sciences. The coursework shall commence on or after Sept. 8, 2020 and must conclude by Dec. 1, 2020. Applications are due Sept. 7, 2020.

If you have questions, please contact the program administrator at MeatGrants@iowaagriculture.gov.


Local Produce and Protein Program

Equipment Grant for K-12 Schools

Iowa K-12 schools can apply to be reimbursed for some of the costs associated with purchasing kitchen equipment and supplies that allow the food service program to offer more fresh produce and protein sourced from Iowa farmers. For example, school kitchens may purchase food sealer machines, coolers, dicers, single portion containers, and grab-and-go food supplies. To be eligible for this grant, the school must also apply for the local food sub-grant (listed below).

Up to $160,000 will be allocated for these sub-grants. The funds will be divided amongst approved K-12 schools. Each approved applicant may receive up to $5,000, depending on the number of applicants. The expenses must be incurred between March 1 and Dec. 1, 2020. Applications are due Sept. 7, 2020. Funds must be expended by Dec. 1, 2020.

Local Produce and Protein Program – Equipment Grant for K-12 Schools, Information

Local Food Grant for All Iowa Schools, Colleges, Universities & Early Care Centers

All Iowa schools, including K-12, colleges and universities and early care centers, can apply for the local food sub-grant. Approved schools will be reimbursed for a portion of the costs to purchase produce and protein from local farmers. At least half of the funds must be used to purchase fruits and vegetables. Produce, liquid and shelled eggs, and dairy products (excluding liquid milk) must be purchased directly from local producers, food hubs or food auctions. Meat and poultry products must be processed in-state or by a USDA-inspected meat locker.

Up to $220,000 will be allocated for these sub-grants. The funds will be divided amongst approved Iowa schools. The expenses must be incurred between March 1 and Dec. 1, 2020. Applications are due Sept. 7, 2020. Funds must be expended by Dec. 1, 2020.

Local Produce and Protein Program – Local Food Grant for All Iowa Schools, Colleges, Universities & Early Care Centers, Information

Equipment Grant for Producers and Food Hubs

Iowa specialty crop producers and food hubs can apply to be reimbursed for the purchase of supplies and equipment needed to serve their products in schools, colleges, universities and early care centers. Some examples of eligible purchases include refrigerated trucks, cold storage units, and boxes and packaging equipment. Producers must be willing to sell to schools and enroll in the Farm to School directory to be eligible.

Up to $110,000 will be allocated to support these sub-grants. The money will be divided amongst approved producers and food hubs. Each approved applicant may receive $5,000 to $10,000, depending on the number of approved applicants. Applications are due Sept. 7, 2020. Funds must be expended by Dec. 1, 2020.

Local Produce and Protein Program – Equipment Grant for Producers and Food Hubs, Information

Contact Tammy Stotts at tammy.stotts@iowaagriculture.gov or call 515-281-7657 with any questions regarding the grant application.


Iowa Renewable Fuel Retail Recovery Program

Retail Operation Grant

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) is seeking applications for grants to assist retail operators of motor fuel dispensing sites or fueling stations that have suffered business interruptions or income losses due to COVID-19.  Applicants must show that funds awarded will be used for a renewable fuel project planned or begun between March 1 and December 30, 2020. Funds from the Program will be awarded to retail businesses that are dispensing, or have plans to dispense, ethanol blends of E15 or higher, for biodiesel blends of B11 or higher, and for biodiesel terminal facilities. Projects considered can include, but are not limited to, expenses incurred for the construction, installation, upgrade, and retrofit of equipment associated with the sale of renewable fuels. Replacement equipment must dispense a higher percentage blend of ethanol or biodiesel (for example from E10 to E15) than the existing equipment. Adding new equipment to an existing site is permissible. The program has a targeted assistance goal of making 40 percent of funds available for applicants owning 10 or fewer retail fueling dispensing sites (and owning at least one) and 60 percent of funds available for applicants owning more than 10 fuel sites. The Department will begin reviewing applications on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020. In the event any Program funds remain on October 1, 2020, those funds will be available to all retailers outside of the targeted assistance goals, and the Program may be revised as needed to effectively utilize remaining funds. 

Retail operators of motor fuel dispensing sites and fueling stations that have had business income losses and business interruptions due to COVID-19 are eligible to apply. 

Iowa Renewable Fuel Retail Recovery Program, Information

Contact Paul Ovrom at paul.ovrom@iowaagriculture.gov or 515-242-6239 with any questions regarding the grant application.