Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food – Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) | USDA
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Grants, Loans, and Support

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)

Type: Grants

Max Award: $100,000 for a "Phase I" project; $450,000 for "Phase II" project.

Big Idea: Small Business Innovation Research helps small businesses conduct high quality research related to important scientific problems and opportunities in agriculture. Research is intended to increase the commercialization of innovations and foster participation by women-owned and socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses in technological innovation.

Who Can Apply: Small businesses (fewer than 500 employees)

Possibilities: Small Business Innovation Research grants can be applied toward many areas of research including projects that:

  • Manage the movement of products throughout a supply chain;
  • Develop processes that save energy;
  • Capture and relay real-time market data.

Real example: Good Natured Family Farms is an alliance of over 150 small and mid-size farms and ranches that sells to local markets through a supermarket chain in Kansas City, MO. These producers raise beef and free-range chicken labeled as "all-natural," meaning they don't use growth hormones, sub-therapeutic antibiotics, or animal by-products. They also sell a wide range of other agricultural products including milk, eggs, honey, and fruits and vegetables. Good Natured Family Farms received $556,000 through SBIR to develop comprehensive Quality System Certification Program manuals for their beef and chicken. The manuals provide standard operating procedures for the verification that all of the beef and chicken sold under the Good Natured Family Farms label is in fact all-natural, which has helped the company attest to the practices that they market. More recently, they received another grant for $302,470 to implement a CSA model to bring their locally grown food to inner city households and schools.

Get more information: For more program information, please visit the Small Business Innovation Research Program page.