Every day you confront new information, problems and costs that must be dealt with in a positive way to continue your prosperity. As you try to dig through the piles of paper work, it probably seems like nothing is simple anymore. In a way, you are right. For most of us our fathers did their own taxes, never had to document the pesticides and fertilizers they used, and certainly never filled out 150 page applications to get a grant from the USDA. In other ways things are simpler, with tax accountants and ag economics advisors. Most of us can look back at something we tried to tackle ourselves, later to wish we’d asked an advisor or an expert. Or we regretted that our mistake meant we could not take advantage of a program that would have helped our family be more profitable.
The solution is common in many areas today. When you have a problem you need to build a team. Not someone who is wanting to tell you what to do, but someone who wants to help you reach the goals you have set on the path you have chosen. One great example of where it takes a team to win is in applying for government grants.
Each year the USDA awards millions of dollars to people like you that have ideas on ways to save energy and be better stewards of the land. The fact is that the vast majority of this money is awarded to firms that hire a team of professionals to help with implementation. One of the really great grant programs for farmers to use is the Rural Energy for America Program or REAP. Under this grant, a farm could receive up to 25% of the cost of improvements to either reduce energy (projects like new grain dryers, improved irrigation systems, insulation of building or animal housing) or to start new renewable energy projects to use your biomass or to harness the energy of the sun for heating or electrical generation. Well over 90% of the money awarded goes to people working with a team. Individuals attempting to write this grant by themselves typical spend over 120 hours and are less likely to win because they have not received feedback on hundreds of similar applications. The USDA reviewers of these grants typically have specific things they are looking for and require it in a way they are familiar with. A team that has written these types of grants can typically get you through the process with less than 6 hours of your time and at a cost of about 1% of the total project. Payments are typical payments of anywhere between $ 20,000 and $ 50,000. The chances of winning go from less than 50% to the high 98% for EIM wins in 2013.
We encourage you to think beyond your gate when trying to decide how to tackle some of the big problems in you organization. We stand ready to help with 9 people dedicated to helping you reach the goals you have set on the path you have chosen.