Washington State Department of Agriculture
Relief and Recovery Grant for Shellfish Growers

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 by providing WSDA Relief and Recovery Grants.

The WSDA Relief and Recovery Grant will provide support to shellfish growers. Washington’s shellfish producers were significantly impacted when COVID-19 safety protocols mandated the closure of restaurants. Ninety percent of Washington State shellfish is consumed in restaurants. 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: Grants are for $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: Funds will be dispersed to successful grantees.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture Relief and Recovery Grant for Shellfish Growers 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.

If your application is successful, you will be notified by email 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 will come by email from forward-notification@livestories.com. Please make sure to check your spam folders as the award emails will come from LiveStories/FORWARD on behalf of Washington State Department of Agriculture. Please be sure to monitor your email, including Junk or "spam" folders.

Eligibility Requirements

The business must:

• Be licensed to do business in Washington (identified by UBI or appropriate tribally-recognized business identifier).
• Have been in operation prior to April 1, 2020.
• Attest that your business’ gross annual revenue in calendar year 2019 is less than $5 million and your business incurred expenses greater than $15,000. *Businesses that began operations in 2020 must attest to incurred business expenses greater than $15,000 and actual or projected revenues of no more than $5 million in 2020.
• Hold a valid Commercial Shellfish License and Harvest Site Certificate from the Washington State Department of Health.
• Attest to decreased revenue and/or additional costs incurred in 2020 (i.e. negative financial impact) resulting from the COVID-19 public health emergency.
• Businesses with multiple locations can only apply for one grant.

Application Information to have ready

• Upload a copy of your Harvest Site Certificate (1st page only)
• Washington State Department of Health Commercial Shellfish license number
• Unified Business Identifier (UBI #)
• Tax Identification or Employer Identification Number (TIN/EIN)

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 Washington shellfish growers. Washington’s shellfish producers were significantly impacted when COVID-19 safety protocols mandated the closure of restaurants. Ninety percent of Washington State shellfish is consumed in restaurants.

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

The portal will be open for 18 days. It will open on 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 Shellfish Growers grant. Once you are signed into your account, you will see a list of grant opportunities. Click on the "Shellfish Growers 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. You are required to enter a UBI number unless you are a tribal-member owned business operating on a reservation and licensed or registered with a federally recognized tribe in Washington State.

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 available?

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

Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association: pcsga@pcsga.org or (360) 754-2744.

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 be initially directed to our contracted Sector Partners. These Sector Partners are contracted by WSDA to provide information and assistance to all applicants in their sector. Please contact them with questions.

Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association: pcsga@pcsga.org or (360) 754-2744.

The LiveStories/FORWARD Technical Support will be provided by phone and/or email to any applicants with questions related to the FORWARD platform where the 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. WSDA reserves the right to modify (increase or decrease) grant award amounts depending on number of applicants and funds available.

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 the three rounds of Working Washington grants and 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.