Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program (OTECP). 

Are you a producer or handler of agricultural commodities that are certified organic? Or, are you transitioning your operation to certified organic? You may be eligible for financial assistance to cover expenses paid during the 2020, 2021, and 2022 fiscal years through USDA’s Organic and Transitional Education and Certification Program (OTECP). This new program is part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative.

This is a new program under USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative that will provide financial assistance to producers or handlers of agricultural commodities that are certified organic, and those transitioning their operations to organic. You can learn more about the program at

Signup for 2020 and 2021 OTECP will be Nov. 8, 2021, through Jan. 7, 2022. Rhode Island Producers can apply by contacting the RI FSA County Office at 401-828-3120 Option 2 and they can also obtain one-on-one support with applications by calling 877-508-8364.

Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center

The Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center has several new opportunities available.

Dairy Business Viability & Technical Assistance Grant []

This grant will fund dairy processors, producer associations, supply chain businesses, and technical assistance providers in order to enhance dairy farmer and processor business operations and strengthen market opportunities. Projects funded through this program will coordinate technical assistance to benefit multiple dairy producers and processors with the goal of increasing consumption, sales, jobs, and diverse markets for regionally produced dairy products. Technical assistance services could include enhancing business plans, facility operations, marketing, distribution, processing, and product offerings.
Grants available of $10,000 – $100,000.

RFA now available. Application period has closed. []

Dairy Food Safety & Certification Grant []

This grant will provide dairy farmers, processors, and/or producer associations with funds needed to take actionable steps to improve the safety of dairy products. Projects funded through this program will support increased production safety standards with the goal of accessing new markets. Projects that increase marketability of dairy products will be prioritized. Activities covered by this grant include accessing technical assistance, audits, food safety plan development, training, testing fees, and certain infrastructure upgrades.
Grants available of $10,000 – $40,000.

RFA now available. Application period: October 26, 2021 – February 3, 2022 []

Contract Opportunity: Grazing Transition, Homegrown Forage Enhancement, & Alternative Farm Management Cohort Technical Assistance []

Service providers across the Northeast are invited to submit proposals for contracts to offer localized cohort-based technical assistance for dairy farmers considering transitioning their farm to a grass-based production model, improving forage management, or other innovative on-farm practices.
Contracts available up to $150,000.

Question and comment period: Closed.
Deadline has passed. []

 Northeast Dairy Processor Survey []

The NE-DBIC invites dairy processors to complete a 10-minute survey by October 26 to help us better understand the landscape of Northeast processors’ marketing and branding efforts. Contractor Metro Tribal will use the results to develop case studies and toolkit resources for Northeast dairy businesses to use to improve the effectiveness of their marketing and branding activities. Survey respondents will benefit from receiving the aggregated survey results directly and could be approached to be featured in a case study. []

Pandemic Response and Safety (PRS) Grant Program

This new program provides funding to help small specialty crop producers, food processors, manufacturers, distributors and farmers markets recover costs incurred by responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, including for measures to protect workers. This program is authorized and funded under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (Pub. L. No. 116—260). []

Note: All applications submitted before the deadline will be considered for funding. Applications will not be reviewed on a first come first served basis. Visit the PRS Portal for more information and to apply for the USDA PRS Grant Program!

Application Period Closed.

Grants Available Through the
Diesel Emissions Reduction Act

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management-Office of Air Resources is pleased to announce the release of the 2021 Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grant funding Request for Proposal (RFP). Applications are now being accepted.
DERA reimbursement grants provide support for projects that protect human health and improve air quality by reducing harmful emissions from diesel engines. Reimbursement grants will be given to on-road heavy duty diesel vehicle replacement, nonroad engine/equipment and marine engine/vessel replacement projects.

A limited number of awards will be given out on a competitive basis. Applications period has closed.

For more information on the grants please see the Air Resources website or email Madeline Haines

LASA Grants Awarded

On September 1, Governor McKee Announced $250,000 in Grants to Spur Growth of Agriculture, Aquaculture, and Seafood Sectors. Twenty grantees obtained funding through the Local Agriculture and Seafood Act (LASA), aimed at helping small businesses in RI’s green economy prosper and increasing the diversity of both food producers and foods in the state.

For a full press release for the LASA Grants please click here.

LASA Deadline Has Passed
Please use the following information to plan
ahead for future LASA Grant rounds.

FULL Press Release (printable)

April 15, 2021 PROVIDENCE – The Department of Environmental Management (DEM) announces that more than $160,000 in funding under the Local Agriculture & Seafood Act (LASA) grant program is available for projects that support the growth, development, and marketing of local food and seafood in Rhode Island. The LASA program provides grants that directly benefit and strengthen the state’s local food system by helping new and existing small businesses and food initiatives take root and prosper in Rhode Island.

LASA is funded by the State. For details and priorities for the 2021 grant cycle, please click here for the full press release.  DEM anticipates that approximately $160,000 – $240,000 will be awarded under this grant round with no direct match required. During the most recent funding cycle DEM awarded $95,949 in LASA grants to 12 Rhode Island-based groups to support the local food system.

Applicants must be based in the State of Rhode Island. Eligible entities include for-profit farmers, fishermen/women, producer groups, and non-profit organizations however only small and/or beginning farmers, or producer groups of small or beginning farmers, and aquaculture operators are eligible to apply for capital grants.