Grants Available Through WNC Ag Options & NC Cooperative Extension
If you are a farmer in the far western counties of North Carolina who has been waiting for the right time financially to jump into a new adventure on your operation, then the WNC Ag Options Grant might be just what you need to help get you started. I thought this might be a good time to cover what exactly this grant is, who can apply, and when they should apply.
The mission of WNC AgOptions is to “build sustainable farming communities in our
mountain region by providing resources directly to farmers who are diversifying or expanding their operations” according to their website. The site also states that the ultimate “goal of WNC AgOptions is to protect mountain farmland by assisting the longevity of farm enterprises and encouraging groups of farmers to solve logistical challenges in the local agricultural system.” Therefore, if a farmer lives in Watauga, Caldwell, Burke, or Cleveland County or any County west of these, and has an idea of a way to diversify, expand, and/or sustain their operation they may be eligible to apply for this grant. Applications can be made for either $3,000 or $6,000 awards.
Hopeful recipients can apply for an AgOptions Grant as soon as applications post on the WNC AgOptions website. This usually happens at least a couple of months prior to the “Intent to Apply” Deadline which is in October each year with the final application deadline being in November. I would encourage potential applicants to plan ahead and have a working relationship with your respective Extension agent. This can be very beneficial to you when it comes time to fill out an application.