Washington State Department of Agriculture
Relief and Recovery Grant for Agritourism Farms

The Washington Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is allocating funds from the Disaster Response Account managed by the State of Washington Office of Financial Management, pursuant to Chapter 7, Laws of 2020.

The WSDA Relief and Recovery Grant will provide support grants to small agritourism farms. Many Washington farms and ranches offer agritourism experiences to visitors as part of their agricultural business success. The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply impacted tourism businesses of all types with necessary public health measures keeping people at home. Visitor spending in Washington was down 47% in 2020. This grant serves the public purpose of bolstering the viability of the Washington State agricultural industry, helping prevent business closures, and hence supporting the health and diversity of Washington State’s economy. 

Grant Amount: Grant amount is $15,000.

General Timeline

April 9th – April 26th: Open application period. The application portal will remain open for a period of 18 days. All applications will be reviewed after the close of the application period.

Mid-May: Notification of grant awards.

Late May-June: Funds will be dispersed to successful grantees.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture Relief and Recovery Grant for Agritourism Farms application is now closed.

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How to Apply

You will need to set up an account to apply online.

Washington State Department of Agriculture has partnered with LiveStories/FORWARD to manage the application process and distribute awards.

In order to access the online application form you will need to set up an account in FORWARD.

On the login page, click on the link to "Request access to FORWARD". You will be prompted to register for an account, the prompt will ask for your Business/Organization name and email address.

Once you have entered that, FORWARD will send an email to your email account to set a secure password. After you set your password, login and start the application process. Please check your SPAM/Junk folder if you don’t receive the email.

We recommend using Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Apple Safari as browsers.

When you submit your application, you will receive a notification when your application has been received.

If you are awarded a grant, you will be notified by email from LiveStories by the end of May. At that point you will be asked to provide bank information and a W-9 so that you can be paid.

Grant payments will be made by June 15th. 

Please note: Communications about the application and award announcements will be emailed from LiveStories/FORWARD on behalf of Washington State Department of Agriculture. Please be sure to monitor your email, including junk or "spam" folders for email from forward-notification@livestories.com.

Eligibility Requirements

Definitions

For the purpose of this grant, Agritourism is defined as a commercial enterprise of a farm, ranch, or other agricultural business that links agricultural production and/or processing with tourism in order to attract visitors to the farm or ranch by offering agriculturally-related entertainment and/or educational experiences and generating income for the farm, ranch, or agricultural business.

Examples of agritourism include, but are not limited farm tours, on-farm classes or workshops, seasonal festivals, on-farm dinners or concessions, u-pick farms, corn mazes, pumpkin patches, on-farm stand/retail store that relies on sales to people visiting to the region (not local customers), or agriculturally-related recreational activities such as wagon or hayrides

For the purpose of this grant, visitors, is defined as those travelling at least 50 miles to the region.

To be eligible for this grant, an agritourism farm must:

• Be licensed to do business in Washington (identified by UBI or appropriate tribally-recognized business identifier).
• Be a farm, ranch, or agricultural business engaged in agricultural production that normally generates at least 15% of its gross annual farm income from agritourism activities
• Have experienced decreased revenue and/or additional costs incurred in 2020 (i.e. negative financial impact) due to loss of visitors resulting from the COVID-19 public health emergency.
• Attest that your farm or ranch’s gross annual revenue in calendar year 2019 was less than $5 million and your farm incurred expenses greater than $15,000 in either 2019 or 2020
• Have been in operation as a farm, ranch, or other agricultural business, including offering agritourism activities, prior to April 1, 2020.
• Be physically located in Washington State.
• Hold all necessary licenses and permits required to operate the agritourism activities offered.
• Be / Have been operating in compliance with all COVID-19-related orders issued by the Governor and in compliance with any COVID-19 health or safety measures applicable to the business


The following entities are not eligible for this grant: Tours that visit farms, ranches, or vineyards that are not operated by the host farm; and event venues for rent that are located on a farm property that does not also support some form of agricultural production or processing.

Application Information to have ready

• Tax Identification or Employer Identification Number (TIN/EIN)
• Unified Business Identifier (UBI #)

How to Submit Your Application in FORWARD

Frequently Asked Questions

General

Who is the Relief and Recovery Grant intended for?

These grants are intended to support farms, ranches, and agricultural businesses that normally generate at least 15% of its gross annual farm income from agritourism activities.

How long will I have to apply once the application portal opens?

The portal will be open for 18 days. It will open April 9th and close on April 26th at 11:59 PM PDT.

Is this grant program first come, first served?

No. All applicants who meet eligibility requirements and apply between April 9th and April 26th at 11:59 PM PDT, will be considered.

Where does the funding come from?

WSDA is allocating funds from the Disaster Response Account managed by the State of Washington Office of Financial Management, pursuant to Chapter 7, Laws of 2020.


Applying

How do I apply?

After reading the eligibility guidelines carefully, click the Apply button above between April 9th and April 26th.

Step 1: Create a FORWARD account. On the login page, click on the link to "Request access to FORWARD". You will be prompted to register for an account, the prompt will ask for your Business/Organization name and email address.

Once you have entered that, FORWARD will send an email to your email account that you used to create an account to set a secure password. After you set your password, login and start the application process. Please check your SPAM/Junk folder if you don’t receive the email. Signing up with FORWARD is free. It is required to submit an application for the WSDA Relief and Recovery Grant.

Step 2: Select the Agritourism Farms grant. Once you are signed into your account, you will see a list of grant opportunities. Click on the "Agritourism Farms grant" then click on the "Apply" button to start the application process.

Step 3: Fill out the application. Complete the required information, questions, and certifications.

Step 4: Submit. Once you’ve submitted your application, you’ll receive a confirmation email from forward-notification@livestories.com to the email address you used to sign up with FORWARD.

What is a UBI #?

A UBI number is a nine-digit number that registers you with several state agencies and allows you to do business in Washington State. A state issued UBI number is sometimes called a tax registration number, a business registration number, or a business license number. Not all organizations have one, but if yours does, please provide it where requested in the application.

If you have applied for a UBI# but haven’t received it yet from the State of Washington, please enter "UBI application in process" for your response to the UBI# question.

What is an EIN or TIN #?

An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is also known as a Federal Tax Identification Number (TIN) and is used to identify a business entity. Generally, businesses need an EIN. Like a Social Security number, the EIN number is nine digits long and assigned by the federal government. The IRS uses the number to identify taxpayers who are required to file various business tax returns. If you do not have an EIN because you are a sole proprietor, type "111111111" as you are not required to provide your security number in this application.

Will I receive a notification that my application has been received?

Yes. You will receive an email confirmation from forward-notification@livestories.com once your application is received. Check your spam/junk folder if you do not receive an email shortly after submitting your application.

Will I be able to edit my submission after applying should I make an error?

No. However, if you do need to correct an error, please contact forward-support@livestories.com and our team can work with you to provide additional and correct information to your application.

Is there a paper application and who do I submit the paper application to?

Yes. Please contact your Sector Partner to obtain a paper application. Paper applications must be received by 11:59 PM, April 26th.

Contact WSDA at smallfarms@agr.wa.gov.

You can email completed applications to forward-support@livestories.com.


Logistics and Portal Questions

Can questions be answered in any language for the application?

We ask that all answers be in English. Please consider using a translation tool (like Google Translate) to help translate the response into English before submitting the final application.

Why is the application period only open for 18 days?

Due to the limitations on the funding, we do not have the ability to keep the application portal open any longer. It takes time to process all of the applications fairly, distribute payments, collect the required documentation for 1099 tax forms, and complete required reporting in accordance with Washington state law.

Who do I contact for help?

Questions regarding the grant program, eligibility, and answers to the application questions should emailed to WSDA at smallfarms@agr.wa.gov.

The LiveStories/FORWARD Technical Support will be provided by phone and/or email to any applicants with questions related to the FORWARD platform where WSDA Relief and Recovery Grant program online application is housed. For technical support, call (800) 819-9785 or email forward-support@livestories.com. The hours for the support line are as follows: 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM Monday-Friday.

Who is LiveStories and FORWARD?

Washington Department of Agriculture has partnered with LiveStories/FORWARD to manage the application process and distribute awards. LiveStories is a Washington state technology company that powers the FORWARD application portal. LiveStories offers application services for programs such as this nationwide.


Grant Awards

What is the amount of the grant award?

If an applicant submits a successful application and meets all the eligibility criteria, they will be awarded $15,000.

How will I be notified if I am awarded a grant?

You will receive an email from forward-notification@livestories.com notifying you if you have been awarded a grant and included in the email will be "Next Steps".

What is expected of me after I receive the award?

LiveStories will email you to request additional required information if you are awarded a grant. You will need to provide 2 items to facilitate the payment: 1) A completed and signed W9 form, 2) A completed and signed ACH form that includes your bank account and routing number. You will also need to acknowledge the amount of funding and that you agree to be bound by the terms set forth in the application.

Is this grant taxable income?

Your accountant can advise you of any tax obligations, but these grants are not subject to business and occupation (B&O) tax, public utility tax, or retail sales tax (per HB 1095 which exempts the receipt of "qualifying grant" funds from certain taxes).

Qualifying grants include any grants that are received from the government, or another organization authorized to distribute government grants, and are meant to address the impacts of a national or state declaration of emergency. This includes national or state declarations occurring since February 29, 2020 (e.g., the declaration of emergency issued due to the COVID-19 pandemic).

Does anything need to be repaid?

No, these grants do not need to be repaid. However, all taxes associated with the acceptance and/or uses of cash awarded are the sole responsibility of the individual grantee. Please contact your financial advisor or the Department of Revenue for questions related to your own situation.

What kind of reporting will be required as a recipient of these funds?

There will be no reporting requirement. However, each awardee will be required to sign an agreement and complete bank wire instructions to receive the funding if and when awarded. The agreement will re-certify the self-attest statements you made on the application, along with other provisions regarding the program and what documents the business should retain.

Will receiving a grant impact other federal assistance or unemployment insurance eligibility?

You will need to check with those assistance providers.

How long will it take for a successful applicant to receive an award and in what format?

Once all submissions are reviewed, awardees will be notified via email to take next steps in the granting process by mid-June. They will be asked to sign a grant agreement and provide their bank information. Once both the grant agreement is signed and their banking information is verified, grant awardees can expect to receive payment via direct deposit within a few business days.

How will funds be distributed?

WSDA’s partner, LiveStories, will be using a direct bank transfer of funds referred to as an ACH. Knowing your correct business bank account and routing number for your bank branch is critical to successfully obtaining funds.

Will there be more grant opportunities?

There may be additional small business funding provided through federal or state government action. If additional grant funding becomes available through the Department of Agriculture, the information will be updated on the Department’s website. Please visit COVID-19 Business Resources for Washington State to learn more.

The WSDA is committed to helping all businesses, especially small business owners, navigate available resources to help our region's economy get back on track.