2019 WNC AgOptions Grant Applications

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Funding for farm grants for next three years

WNC AgOptions Application deadline Nov. 19.

Western North Carolina farmers now have the opportunity to apply for farm diversification grants over the next three years. The N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission recently funded WNC Agricultural Options, providing $648,000 to the program to distribute as cost-share grants to WNC farmers through 2021. With $216,000 available in 2019, farmers have until Nov. 19, 2018, to submit their applications.

WNC AgOptions helps offset farmers’ risk of trying new ventures with $3,000 and $6,000 grants. Applicants should contact their N.C. Cooperative Extension agents by Oct. 19 to set up an appointment to discuss their projects. Applications are available online or at local N.C. Cooperative Extension Centers. Extension Agents remain a resource for farmers throughout the year as they complete their projects.

Since 2004, WNC AgOptions has distributed more than $2.8 million to farmers in western North Carolina who are diversifying their operations. Returns on initial investments are often immediate, as new income typically matches the size of the grants in the first year of the projects. Income continues to increase year after year, often doubling by the third year of the projects.

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.

The administrator of WNC AgOptions is WNC Communities, a non-profit organization that has been improving agriculture in the region since 1947. WNC Communities provides a unique forum for leaders in western North Carolina to carry out innovative programs to improve the quality of life for rural communities and to enhance the agriculture economy. WNC Communities is honored to be the administrator of this annual funding opportunity designed to support farmers in their quest to try new techniques or implement innovative farming practices,” said L.T. Ward, Vice president of WNC Communities. “We are grateful to the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission and North Carolina legislators for their support for the last fourteen years.”

Download the 2018 WNC AgOptions application.