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Coronavirus COVID-19

COVID-19 Advisory: WSU Extension is working to keep our communities safe. All Extension programming is being provided virtually, postponed, or canceled. Effective March 16, 2020, WSU Extension county offices and WSU Research & Extension Centers will be closed to the public. We are available via email, phone, and webconference.

Thurston Strong Agriculture Business Grant

Posted: October 13th, 2020

The Thurston Strong Agriculture Grant is offered as a helping hand to agricultural businesses attempting to recover from economic injury as a result of COVID-19. All Thurston County agricultural businesses meeting eligibility requirements will be considered. The Thurston Economic Development Council will administer the program on behalf of Thurston Strong partners. The majority of funding support has been provided by local jurisdictions (Thurston County, Cities of Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater) through a dedicated portion of their individual CARES Act allocations. For technical assistance, contact our Business Hotline at 888-821-6652.

PURPOSE

Expedite the safe and successful recovery of for-profit agricultural businesses, agricultural cooperatives, and farmers markets impacted by COVID-19.

To apply for the grant, visit the Thurston Strong COVID-19 Economic Recovery Initiative  (https://www.thurstonstrong.org/)

ELIGIBLE RECIPIENTS​​

  • Agricultural businesses with 50 or fewer employees (or FTE equivalent) that serve the public and require additional capital to safely recover from economic injury due to COVID-19
  • Food manufacturers/value-added food processors who manufacturer food products using ingredients purchased from agricultural producers in Thurston County
  • Food/farm cooperatives with 50 or fewer members that aid in the purchase and distribution of agricultural products grown in Thurston County
  • Farmers Markets

**Eligible businesses must have a physical location in Thurston County and a registered Unified Business Identification (UBI) Number.

Businesses owned by an employee, manager, officer, or elected official of any of the participating jurisdictions, or the Thurston Economic Development Council are ineligible.

PRIORITY CONSIDERATION

Should requests outpace available funding, priority funding will be given to:

  • Crop and livestock operations producing edible products

ELIGIBLE AMOUNT

$10,000-$30,000 per eligible applicant as follows:

Farms, Value-Added Food Manufacturers and Processors:

  • $10,000 grant

Cooperatives

  • Under 7 employees/members/vendors = $10,000 grant
  • 8-15 employees/members/vendors = $20,000 grant
  • 16-50 employees/members/vendors = $30,000 grant

Farmers Markets

  • Under $500,000 in annual market sales = $10,000 grant
  • Between $500,000 and $2 Million in annual market sales = $20,000 grant
  • Above $2 Million in annual market sales = $30,000 grant

INELIGIBLE EXPENSES

  • Anything not associated with reopening or adapting a business that existed prior to March 1, 2020
  • Funding may NOT be used for expenses that have been or will be reimbursed by other federal funding programs (e.g. Economic Disaster Injury Loan or Payroll Protection Program).

REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

None. But please be sure to let us know about any success stories so we can start sharing some good news with our broader community.

APPLICATION TIMELINE

Applications received and reviewed on a rolling basis from inception until funding has been exhausted. Successful recipients will be notified by email or telephone as soon as possible.

Opportunity for Farm Collaboration

If awarded, farm businesses should utilize the funds where they are needed most in recovery work. Please also note that farms can elect to pool their resources for the purchase of supplies or equipment that may accelerate recovery from COVID-19. Some farms have talked about acquisition of refrigerated trucks and refrigerated storage to pivot to new markets, purchase harvest equipment to more effectively reach different buyers (such as potato digger), while others have discussed purchase of a no-seed drill to aid in enhancing pasture renovation to improve grazing operations and compensate for COVID-19 losses to livestock enterprises.

If you are interested in collaborating, please contact Stephen Bramwell (bramwell@wsu.edu), who will compile a list of interested farmers. WSU Extension can help coordinate groups of farmers, and the Thurston Conservation District has an agriculture equipment rental system that is well-equipped to hold equipment for collective farm benefit and rental if any farms are interested in and able to collaborate. Please focus on your business recovery, and if possible consider investments that could be made collectively or in small groups!