The Governor signed Act 138 on July 2, 2020, including funding and the framework for a Forest Economy Stabilization Grant Program (FESG), to provide $5 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds available to qualifying businesses in Vermont's forest economy. The Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation (FPR) is working with state agencies and the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA) to deliver this program to provide economic relief to forest products businesses experiencing economic harm as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic public health emergency.
FESG Program Eligibility
The eligibility criteria under which we’ll be reviewing applications are now finalized.
To be eligible for the Forest Economy Stabilization Grant program, a forest products business must meet the conditions below:
- Be a forest products business primarily engaged in managing, harvesting, trucking, processing, manufacturing, crafting, or distributing forest or wood products[A] ("primarily engaged in means more than 50% of the annual gross revenue for the entity applying is derived from one of these types of forest products activities[B]); and
- Any portion of the forest or wood products must be derived from Vermont forests; and
Your forest products business must have experienced economic harm, related to the COVID-19 public health emergency, that was $5,000 or more in cumulative revenue loss in the months of March, April, May, June and July of 2020, when compared to the cumulative revenue in the same months of 2019.
The applicant also…
- Is domiciled or has its primary place of business in Vermont.
- Was open and active before February 1, 2020.
- Is open at the time of application, or is required to have closed due to COVID-19 restrictions but can certify to its intention to re-open when the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
- Is not a business or organization, nor a subsidiary of a business or organization, nor owned by a business or organization, that reported more than $20,000,000 in total revenue.
- Is not currently in Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
- Is in good standing with the Vermont Department of Taxes.
- Is in good standing with the Vermont Secretary of State.
- Is compliant with local, state and federal labor laws.
[A] “Forest products business” include consulting forestry services and secondary manufacturers of wood products.
[B] Applicants that meet the two factors for eligibility are normally businesses that fall under these NAICS codes, which are advisory for applicants.
If you DO meet these FESG eligibility criteria, and plan to apply for an FESG grant in early August, you should begin organizing documentation (see below) that will be required to support an application. And sign up for our listserv to stay informed on when these grants will be announced and other related details. All documents must be in PDF format.
- 2020 Income statement (profit and loss), broken down by month
- 2019 Income statement (profit and loss), broken down by month
- 2019 Federal Tax Returns
- 2019 State Tax Returns
- A summary of state and federal COVID relief program payments, including PPP, EIDL and other SBA backed loans, any insurance payments that covered revenue loss, and other state CRF grants.
If you DO NOT meet the eligibility criteria above, and have one or more non-owner employees, you should consider applying for ACCD's Economic Recovery Grants, or, for some working lands businesses, there will also be an announcement coming soon regarding funding opportunities from the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative, for which you may be eligible.
Forest products businesses can potentially apply and be eligible for grants from other agencies; however, if funded, they will be ineligible to apply for the Forest Economy Stabilization Grant Program. Only one grant from Vermont's Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) will be awarded per business entity, identified by Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) or Social Security Number.
What is the difference between the FESG Program and ACCD’s Emergency Economic Recovery Grants?
While the same basic criteria will apply across all state program (e.g. domiciled in the state of Vermont, good standing with state agencies, no duplicate awards to one FEIN or SSN for the same expenses or revenue loss covered by another program, in business or intend to reopen, etc.), there is not a requirement to have one or more non-owner employees but there are additional criteria specific to forest products businesses for the FESG Program. The language in Act 138 allows for eligible applicants to be reimbursed at a higher maximum dollar amount ($100,000 vs. $50,000) than other programs. You cannot receive a grant award from both and both programs will be first come, first serve.