Grant opportunity for Western North Carolina farmers

Published 9:54 pm Sunday, October 27, 2013

WNC Agricultural Options’ 10th annual grant cycle is underway.

With funding from the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, WNC AgOptions will award a total of $153,000 to diversifying farmers in western North Carolina in 2014. Farmers have until December 13 to submit an application for a $3,000 or $6,000 grant.

Since 2004, more than 350 farmer grants and community grants have been awarded.

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“We are extremely grateful to the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission as the sole funder of this program since its inception.” said Ross Young, Madison County Extension Director and WNC AgOptions steering committee leader. ”

Since 2004, WNC AgOptions has distributed more than $1.6 million to farmers in western North Carolina who are diversifying their operations. These small grants often turn farms toward profitability, as well as make significant economic impacts in the surrounding communities.

Data from 156 farmers who received grants in the past four years reveals that their projects resulted in a total of $1.15 million of new farm income in the first year alone.

Applications for the 2014 grant cycle are available at and at local Cooperative Extension Centers. Interested applicants should contact their local Extension Agents by Nov. 1 to notify them that they intend to apply. Extension Agents work closely with the recipients throughout the grant cycle, giving them moral support and answering questions.

WNC AgOptions welcomes four more counties to its now 22-county/unit coverage area: Burke, Caldwell, Cleveland and Rutherford. Other eligible counties include Buncombe, Henderson, McDowell, Polk and others. Interested farmers who live outside of this coverage area should contact RAFI-USA’s Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund. See

For more information, see the following: WNC Agricultural Options: or contact Jennifer Ferre, 828-252-4783, admin@wncagoptions.

– article submitted by Sarah Gottfried