WNC Agricultural Options is now accepting grant applications from farmers diversifying or expanding their businesses.
Donor Name: WNC Agricultural Options
State: North Carolina
County: Selected Counties
Type of Grant: Grant
Size of the Grant: $4,000 and $8,000
WNC AgOptions is funded by the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission and works in partnership with WNC Communities and N.C. Cooperative Extension.
WNC AgOptions helps offset farmers’ risk of trying new ventures and expanding their farms with $4,000 and $8,000 grants.
WNC AgOptions offers grants to farmers in the following counties/units: Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga and Yancey counties as well as the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
Applicants are residents of North Carolina who demonstrate the economic viability of farms in Western North Carolina. Support is provided to individual farmers/farms that are diversifying or expanding their operations to increase farm income and encourage the sustainability of the farm businesses. The farm must be one in which the family holds the financial responsibility, takes the risks, and provides the majority of the management decisions for the farm business. Nonprofits and corporately-owned farms are not eligible. WNC AgOptions awards grants to a variety of farm operations, including: fruits & vegetables, livestock, nurseries, agritourism, beekeeping and value-added processing. Farm businesses that add value and/or sell products that are made from items produced or grown on the applicant’s farm are eligible to apply. While agriculture is a varied and diverse industry that can be defined in many ways, WNC AgOptions funds applicants who operate a business and manage land for the purpose of producing crops for harvest and sale. Any funding requests should be for items directly related to the growing and harvesting of crops for sale, including livestock. WNC AgOptions also funds agritourism operations that are for the purpose of inviting the public on-farm to increase sales of farm products.
Priority will be given to applicants who:
- Are diversifying or expanding their operations so that they remain sustainable for this and future generations;
- Currently or previously grew tobacco in North Carolina;
- Show they follow typical procedures of a legitimate farm business, such as acquiring a NC Department of Revenue Tax Exemption number, having a Farm Service Agency farm number, obtaining appropriate insurance; and filing a Schedule F or equivalent Schedule C (or equivalent) with the Internal Revenue Service;
- Generate more than one-half of their household income from crops or products produced on farm;
- Have sufficient experience and expertise to accomplish the projects and/or have identified the proper cooperators to supplement gaps in their skills and abilities;
- Actively participate in grower associations or other commodity group meetings;
- Have sufficiently researched the production methods, markets, expenses and timeline for their projects;
- Are proposing projects that demonstrate successful farming practices, methods, and/or markets to the agriculture community;
- Exhibit working relationships with their local Cooperative Extension Agents;
- Have included two qualifying letters of support from purchasers, advisors, consultants, agricultural specialists, other granting agencies, loan officers, or others that are providing support to your project (see details in Section III of the application)
- Have NOT received funding from WNC AgOptions from 2004 to 2023 and/or have NOT received funding from the Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund offered through RAFI, USA from 2009-2011. Recipients who have previously received a total of three WNC AgOptions/RAFI grants are not eligible for a fourth.
- Farmers who do not meet all of these criteria are still encouraged to apply.
For more information, visit WNC Agricultural Options.