American Farmland Trust (AFT) is excited to announce the Brighter Future Fund (BFF) to assist farmers in successfully launching, growing, and sustaining farms in the face of forces impacting the food and agricultural system, including the COVID-19 pandemic, changing markets, severe weather, and climate change. AFT seeks to uplift, support, and amplify the work of a wide range of farmers through this program.
Donor Name: American Farmland Trust
States: Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island
County: All Counties
Type of Grant: Grant
Deadline (mm/dd/yyyy): Ongoing
Size of the Grant: $5,000
The Brighter Future Fund was launched in 2020 to assist farmers in successfully launching, growing and sustaining farms in the face of forces impacting the food and agricultural system, including the COVID-19 pandemic, changing markets, severe weather, and climate change. The Fund was initially seeded with a generous contribution from Tillamook, one of America’s favorite farmer-owned co-ops.
Funding will be allocated to two primary categories: professional services and equipment or infrastructure costs. Grants are intended to leverage other resources (either in-kind from the farmer, or other private and public funds) and make a difference for farmers:
- improve farm viability,
- access, transfer or permanently protect farmland,
- adopt regenerative farming practices and increase resilience to climate change.
Award Amount and Project Eligibility
- Grants will be awarded in amounts up to $5,000 per project. A project may involve one or more individual farmers or farm families. Only one grant can be awarded per farmer/farm family.
- Funding for this program is limited. As funding remains, awards will be made an ongoing basis to eligible applicants that fulfill all application requirements and meet selection criteria.
- Land tenure (ownership, a lease, license, or other written agreement) for a reasonable time period will be required for projects that involve on-the-ground improvements to farmland. If tenure is less than 5 years, please be prepared to demonstrate in the application that the tenure is sufficient in relationship to the improvements being made or services being provided.
- Farmers will receive direct payment of funds from American Farmland Trust but can request special consideration for payment to a service provider. See additional requirements about Professional services in the ‘Eligible Projects’ section and supporting information in the ‘Timeline’ section.
- Professional Services
- Hiring an attorney to develop a farm lease, provide legal representation for a farm transfer or purchase, develop an estate plan to support a farm transfer, or navigate heirs property issues.
- Hiring a business, financial or estate planning consultant to assist with a farm transfer plan, business plan, or finance/loan plan.
- Hiring a service provider to support business planning and other services necessary for farmland access or expansion such as land search planning, property assessment, facilitation, succession planning, or crafting agreements.
- Paying transaction costs associated with securing land to farm. These may include costs associated with purchasing a farm, negotiating a lease agreement, or developing an agricultural conservation easement (e.g., survey, appraisal, etc.).
- Infrastructure and Equipment
- Paying capital costs associated with improving soil health and enhancing land for farm production. Examples include: irrigation, fencing, or soil improvements.
- Purchasing farm equipment or implements that would allow farmers to improve soil health, increase productivity, or enhance crop quality.
- Acquiring new equipment or making improvements to increase marketing and sales of farm products.
- Replacing infrastructure or equipment lost or compromised from natural disasters.
- In recognition of the need for greater equity and inclusion for all groups who have been, and still are, marginalized, this year the Brighter Future Fund will focus on providing resources to farmers who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), women, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA+).
- While this is a national grant program, applicants from the six New England states will be managed separately.
- Farmers who received a 2020 Brighter Future Fund grant are not eligible to receive a grant again in 2021.
- However, those who applied but were not awarded funds during our 2020 Bright Future Microgrant Program are encouraged to apply again.
Additional information that will be taken into consideration when making funding decisions include:
- Priority for individuals who dedicate a majority of their work time to farming or ranching
- Need-based consideration of projects
- Diversity in farms as determined by the dollar value of farm products sold, acres in farming and farm products grown, raised or produced
For more information, visit Brighter Future Fund.