Thursday, November 5, 2009

Grant Assistance For Farmers

This information was forwarded from Michael Hylton in our local Cooperative Extension Office. If you are a farmer or know of one that can use assistance in applying for grants, this is great information.

NC Western Piedmont Farmers Eligible for Grant Awards
The Rural Advancement Foundation International will host a “how to apply” grant workshop at the Stokes County Extension office on Tuesday, November 24th, at 3pm. All area farmers with new farm enterprises that demonstrate innovative opportunities in production, processing and marketing are encouraged to attend.

The program is managed by Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI-USA)
As the “Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund (TCRF)”. RAFI coordinates information workshops, accept applications, awards grants and monitors the results.

Supported by the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, the grant program is designed to keep farmers in farming and to maintain the economic base of North Carolina’s rural communities. All farmers are eligible. Priority is given to projects that provide opportunities for a new generation of farmers and to applicants who had tobacco income at the time of the Master Settlement Agreement.

Eligibility: Qualifying producers must be farmers or farmer “groups” actively engaged in full or part-time farming in the Western Piedmont. Western Piedmont counties include Ashe, Alleghany, Surry, Stokes, Rockingham, Wilkes, Yadkin, Forsyth, Guilford, Caldwell, Alexander, Iredell, Davie, Davidson, Rowan, Burke, Catawba, Rutherford, Cleveland, Lincoln, Gaston, Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Stanly, Union, and Anson.

Awards: The maximum amount available to individual farmers is $10,000 and $30,000 for collaborative farmer or community projects. Grant applications for the Western Piedmont Region are due January 13th, 2010 at 5:00 p.m. The timeline for submitting grants in other NC regions can be seen at:

“The TCRF is designed to help farmers put their own ideas to work to develop new income sources,” said Jason Roehrig, RAFI Program Director. “Through cost-share grants, we can help reduce the risk of trying new ideas.” Examples of past projects have included improved greenhouse vegetable production, supplies for pasture-raised livestock, expansion of nursery operations, farmer’s market assistance and more.

“We anticipate a large number of farmers benefitting from this unique opportunity,” said
William Upchurch, Executive Director of the Tobacco Trust Fund Commission. The ultimate impact is preservation of the family farm.

Project Partners:
Tobacco Trust Fund Commission:
Established in 2000 by the NC General Assembly to manage funds that are part of the
Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. Grants target farm areas that have historically
depended upon tobacco income through farming or tobacco-related businesses.
William Upchurch, Executive Director, 919-733-2160
Jeff Jennings, Program Officer

Rural Advancement Foundation International
Private non-profit that promotes sustainability for family farmers and communities.
Joe Schroeder, Field Coordinator (Western Piedmont) 919-323-7587
Jason Roehrig, Project Director, 919-542-1396

Interested farmers and representatives of agricultural cooperatives or associations may
obtain applications at or by calling 919-542-1396 ext. 208.

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