Choose Iowa Value-Added Grants

Choose Iowa Value-Added Grants

The Choose Iowa Grants exist to identify, evaluate and financially support programs and services that add value to agricultural products, enable new technologies and support alternative marketing strategies. These cost-share grants leverage additional private investment and were created to assist Iowa farmers, businesses and non-profits with their efforts to increase or diversify their agricultural product offerings, expand markets and shorten the supply chain.

The application period closed at noon on 12/15/2023 for the latest Choose Iowa Value-Added Grant cycle.

Eligible Applicants

Applicants must:
  • Be an individual, business, agricultural cooperative, non-profit organization or local government.  
  • Be in good standing with the State of Iowa. 
  • Currently reside or conduct business in Iowa.

Eligible Projects

Projects must:  

  • Increase sales of Iowa agricultural products by increasing production capacity or expanding market access for value-added projects.  
  • Not be in progress until a grant is awarded.  
  • Be completed in 12 months or less.  
  • Be conducted in Iowa. 

Examples include but are not limited to:  

  • Purchase and installation of equipment used in the production of value-added agricultural products. 
  • On-farm store or commercial kitchen. 
  • Food hub development or expansion. 
  • Direct to consumer technology. 
  • Cooler walls and refrigeration units. 
  • Grading, packing, labeling, packaging or sorting equipment. 
  • Refrigerated trucks to access new markets. 
  • Food processing short courses and workshops. 

Ineligible expenses:  

  • Equipment and infrastructure for meat processing (funding available through IEDA). 
  • Infrastructure for renewable fuels (funding available through IDALS-RFIP). 
  • Dairy processing and dairy labor-reducing technology (funding available through IDALS-Dairy Innovation Fund)
  • Expenses incurred prior to grant award. 
  • Start-up costs such as inventory, license fees, working capital, etc. 
  • Costs associated with advertising, public relations, entertainment. 
  • Employee wages and benefits. 
  • Paying off existing debt, related collection costs or legal fees. 
  • Paying off existing fines, penalties or settlements for failure to comply with laws or regulations.

Grant Amount and Terms

Maximum grant awards shall not exceed $25,000. 

  • Applicants must provide a minimum of one-to-one (1:1) financial match from private sources such as cash, financing or other grant funds for total project costs. In-kind contributions are not accepted.  
  • Example: An individual applying for a grant of $5,000 must provide at least $5,000 from other sources. 
  • Additional points will be awarded to applicants that provide more than the required match amount. 

Choose Iowa Grants are competitive and will be scored and awarded based on the following criteria: 

  • Impact on Iowa agriculture. 
  • Addresses goals of the Choose Iowa Grants. 
  • Business readiness, financial sustainability and experience. 
  • Detailed work plan and timeline. 
  • Budget and match. 
  • Measurable objectives. 

All grants will be paid out on a reimbursement basis after projects are completed. 

Preference will be given to small and medium-sized businesses.* 

*The Iowa Economic Development Authority defines small-sized businesses as having less than 50 full-time employees, medium-sized businesses with 51-250 employees, and large businesses as more than 250 employees. 

Consult your legal or financial advisor regarding financial or tax considerations for any funds received. 

Application Materials 

Applicants must apply for the Choose Iowa Grant through the online application portal. Applicants may submit supporting documents including quotes and estimates to supplement budget details as well as letters of support with their applications.

Applications are due no later than NOON on December 15, 2023. 

Key Dates

October 17, 2023

  • Choose Iowa Value-Added Grant application period opens

December 15 at noon

  • Choose Iowa Value-Added Grant application submission deadline

March 2024

  • Choose Iowa Value-Added Grant recipients are announced

Grant Terms

  • FY23: March 2, 2023 through Feb. 29, 2024
    FY24: March 1, 2024 through Feb. 28, 2025


  • After projects are completed

Scoring Criteria

Addresses goals of the Choose Iowa Grant 
- Increases sales of Iowa agricultural products. 
- Increases market access, diversifies markets and/or increases processing capacity. 
20 points 
Impact on Iowa agriculture 
- Plan to increase sales of Iowa agricultural products is achievable. 
- Amount of Iowa agricultural products to be increased is realistic. 
- Increase is appropriate for the size of the grant request. 
- Project has the potential to impact many farmers. 
- Project has both short-term and long-term impact, including jobs and investments in Iowa. 
20 points 
Business readiness, financial sustainability and experience 
- Applicant demonstrates sound business management, financial aptitude and stability. 
- Applicant describes the financial benefit of doing the grant project. 
- Applicant demonstrates a need for grant funding. 
15 points 
Budget and match 
- Budget clearly details all project costs. 
- Budget clearly explains source and amount of applicant’s funds for private match. 
- Budget is cost effective and planned purchases are backed by quotes or other sources. 
20 points 
Work plan and timeline 
- Work plan is thorough and realistic. 
- A detailed description of each step of the project is provided with estimated dates. 
15 points 
Measurable objectives 
- Describes how the project will achieve objectives of the grant program to benefit the business and agriculture community. 
- Objectives of project are measurable and clearly stated. 
10 points 

Grant Award Timeline 

Grant program announce / application period opensOctober 17, 2023
Grant application deadlineDecember 15, 2023 
Committee scores applicationsDec. 2023-Jan. 2024 
Awardees notified, agreements issuedFebruary 2024
Awardees announcedMarch 2024
Funds dispersed to awardeesBy reimbursement