On-Farm Efficiency Grant

Join us on 11/17 from 4:30-5pm for an informational webinar to learn about the On-Farm Efficiency Grant program. The webinar will cover basic information, application and scoring criteria, reporting requirements, and process of receiving funds. There will be an opportunity to ask questions at the end. Register here.

On-Farm Efficiency Grant

The High Desert Food & Farm Alliance (HDFFA) is invested in increasing the ability of Central Oregon farmers and ranchers to overcome shocks and strains on their operations by providing financial support for on-farm infrastructure, equipment, and professional development. HDFFA is offering producers the opportunity to apply for On-Farm Efficiency Grants for up to $4,000 in grant funds with a 50% match. The On-Farm Efficiency Grant is funded by the Beginning Farmers Ranchers Development Program grant and the Community Food Projects grant, both from the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

How it Works

Farmers and ranchers in Central Oregon have from November 10th to December 20th, 2021 to apply for an On-Farm Efficiency Grant. Applicants may apply for up to $4,000 in total grant funds and must match* 50% of the awarded funds, which can include cash and/or in-kind contributions such as labor or donated materials (see more information on match in the blue box below). We suggest farmers/ranchers value their labor at no less than $30/hour. At least 10 projects will be funded and funds must be spent by July 1st, 2022 with final reporting due July 29th, 2022. For grantees, 85% of the total grant amount will be disbursed by January 28th and the remaining 15% of funds will be disbursed upon completion of the grant reporting requirements.

Match means that you provide a certain amount of funds towards the project costs. For example, if you are requesting a total of $4,000 to purchase upgraded irrigation supplies, then you would need to provide $2,000 in match (this can be in the form of labor at a rate of at least $30/hour or if you purchase additional supplies you can provide a copy of the receipts), which equals 50% of the requested grant funds. You may also use other state or private grants as matching funds, but NOT USDA grant funds, such as NRCS EQIP. USDA loans are allowed to be used for matching funds, but funds awarded by HDFFA cannot be used as repayment to the USDA.

  • Farm/ranch must be located in Central Oregon: Crook, Deschutes, and Jefferson Counties and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, with some exceptions close to these borders
  • Farm/ranch must have been operational during 2021
  • Farm/ranch must grow, raise, and sell products primarily in Central Oregon
  • Farm/ranch is mindful of conserving land and water, maintaining healthy soils, and being responsible and transparent in their use of chemicals, fertilizers, manure, and other farm inputs
  • Awardees must participate in at least one agriculture-related workshop or course either online or in-person between November 2021 and July 2022
    • The course does not need to be through HDFFA, but proof of the course or enrollment in course must be shown to HDFFA at the time of reporting
    • Example of applicable workshops: Irrigation efficiencies for farmers in drought-prone areas, Calculating your cost of production, Regenerative pasture management
  • Must participate in pre-grant and post-grant webinars (dates TBD) to learn about reporting requirements and share on results

The review committee will score each application based on the following criteria:

  • Does this project result in an on-farm efficiency improvement? (0-20 points)
  • Does this project have a positive environmental benefit? (0-20 points)
  • Does this project extend the farmer or rancher’s season or productivity rate of food? (0-20 points)
  • Is the budget clear, accurate, and financially sound? Must show 50% cost share. (0-20 points)

Priority points will be provided to traditionally underserved farmers and ranchers, including Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC+), LGBTQIA2S+, beginning (1-10 years of farm/ranch experience), living with a disability, and U.S. veterans. Additional points will also be awarded to HDFFA Partners and applicants who have not received funding from HDFFA in the past.

All points will be tallied and applicants will be ranked by their total point value from highest to lowest. Funds will be distributed to applicants in the order in which they are ranked until funds are fully distributed. Some applicants may not be funded. All applicants will be notified of their funding status by the Agricultural Support Manager on January 17, 2022

View the scoring rubric here.

Upon approval of an applicant’s grant application, grantees must complete a pre-grant webinar (date TBD), and verify their  budget documentation.  Once this occurs, grantees will receive 85% of their requested grant amount. Once all documentation and reporting is complete, including participation in a post-grant webinar (date TBD), the remaining 15% of grant funds will be disbursed after July 29th, 2022. Applicants must submit all required documentation including match forms before receiving the remaining 15% of grant funds. Grantees will need to submit documentation for every purchase and/or expense made on behalf of their project, which includes costs covered by the grant and costs incurred as match.

Documentation includes:

  • A receipt for all purchases and expenses
  • Reimbursement form or match form
  • Pictures before and after project implementation
  • Proof of agriculture-related course

Grantees are allowed to make changes in purchase quantities of up to 5% of their total budget without approval by HDFFA. For example, if your budget is $1,000 you can make changes of up to $50 such as if the purchase of a plastic cover in your project was $50 less than expected and you want to purchase more plastic, this is acceptable. If you want to spend that $50 on materials or supplies not previously in your budget or if you are making changes over the 5% threshold to your budget, you need to get approval from the Agricultural Support Manager by emailing annie@hdffa.org.

Grant awardees will be required to submit a final report of their project no later than July 29, 2022 which will include:

  • Budget showing utilization of grant funds and matching costs
  • Receipts for all costs covered by the grant, including matching costs
  • Proof of participation in at least one agriculture-related training course
  • A brief paragraph explaining how the grant improved their farm/ranch efficiency (include how many months or percent of food production increase if applicable)
  • 5 pre- and post-project pictures

Awardees will also be required to participate in a post-grant webinar (date TBD). Failure to complete both of these tasks will result in the remaining 15% of grant funds being withheld.

  • Kick-off of the grant and application opens: November 10, 2021
  • Application period: November 10 – December 20, 2021
  • Review Period: December 21, 2021 – January 14, 2022
  • Grant Winner Announcement: January 17, 2022
  • Pre-Grant Webinar: TBD based on awardees’ availability
  • Funds (85% of grant amount) disbursed by: January 28, 2022
  • Funds must be fully utilized by: July 1, 2022
  • Post-Grant Follow-Up Meeting: TBD based on awardees’ availability
  • Reporting due and remaining funds disbursed (15% of grant amount): July 29, 2022

We suggest for all equipment purchases that you share with other farmers/ranchers seeking similar equipment needs. If two farmers apply for the same equipment, we may introduce you with permission from both parties.

We encourage all awardees to donate food through HDFFA’s Grow & Give program. Ranchers who do not qualify for G&G, please reach out to HDFFA to be connected to a food bank in need.

If you do not have enough funds to support the match requirement for this grant, please consider pairing this grant with other financing options:

You may not use any other USDA grants as matching funds for this project. USDA loans are allowed to be used for matching funds, but funds awarded by HDFFA cannot be used as repayment to the USDA.

Deadline to apply is December 20th, 2021. Apply here!

Wash station at Sungrounded Farm - Photo by Amanda Photographic

Download a copy of the application here and view the example and template budget here. Applications must be filled out and submitted electronically at the link in the button above by December 20th, 2021.

Project Categories and Examples

Applicants need to classify their project in ONE of the following categories, but are not limited to the suggested project examples included below.  For example, non-permanent fencing for a movable chicken coop only goes under Equipment Purchases.

Permanent Fixtures
        • Irrigation upgrades
        • Pond liners and piping
        • Fencing
        • High tunnel installation
        • Wash/pack house upgrade
        • Cold storage installation
        • Processing facility
        • Pollinator habitats
        • Biochar amendment
        • Shelter for livestock
        • Movable chicken coop
Equipment Purchases
        • Processing equipment
        • Tractor purchase
        • Mower purchase
        • Weeding equipment
        • Heat lamps for livestock
Professional Development and Technical Assistance
        • On-farm consultant
        • Business workshops
        • Technical assistance courses
        • Soil and/or water testing

Funds cannot be used for: 1) land purchase and/or, 2) non on-farm projects (e.g. farmers market costs, delivery truck), 3) certification costs (e.g. food safety, organic, non-GMO, animal welfare approved), and 4) marketing costs (e.g. packaging, website development). If you are unsure if your project is eligible, contact the Agricultural Support Manager at annie@hdffa.org.

Contact Info:

Annie Nichols
Agricultural Support Manager
annie@hdffa.org
541-390-3572

This project is supported by the Beginning Farmer Rancher Development Program grant [grant no. 2020-70017-32426] and the Community Food Projects grant [grant no. 2021-33800-35848] from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

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We're not around right now, but we would love to hear from you. Team HDFFA

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