(written by Theresa Jarosz Alberti)
Local Farmers and Agricultural Enterprises Receive Financial Support Through XX and Regional Partners’ XX Ag Grant Program
XX, XX (September X, 2022) — In 2022, 34 farmers and agricultural enterprises were awarded funding through the XX’s Ag Grant program. These grant funds provide farmers with the capital to support the development, expansion, and coordination of farms, agricultural enterprises, and initiatives along the XX region. The Ag Grant program aims to improve the regional food system by creating a cohesive relationship between economic development offices and farmers.
The grant was first created by the XX in partnership with the XX County Office of Economic Development, the XX County Economic & Tourism Development, and the XX County Department of Economic Development. Grant recipients have been awarded from each of these counties.
“We want to encourage farmers and agricultural enterprises in the XX region to work together to promote the ‘Buy Local’ movement and increase access to fresh food in our rural communities,” says XX Executive Director Susan XX. “The Ag Grant program seeks to open doors to resource sharing and partnerships throughout the XX, ultimately helping to create a vibrant and economically sustainable rural community.”
The 2022 Ag Grant recipients are:
- (List of farms)
XX County farmer, Jessie XX, is a 2022 Ag Grant recipient for her farm, XX Farm. She raises pasture-raised poultry (chickens, turkeys, ducks, and egg-laying hens) as well as woodland-raised pork and honeybees. “The grant funds helped us to buy an improved automated mechanical chicken plucker, which saves time and improves the quality of our product. We were also able to buy a high tunnel (a chicken coop feature) to keep our laying hens safe and warm during the winter and allow us to expand into growing vegetables to sell and use for value-added products.”
Rachel XX is the owner and grower at XX Farm, which focuses on producing quality cut flowers and eco-conscious farming practices. As a XX County recipient, she purchased a flame weeder, beneficial insects, compost, nutritious amendments, and natural fertilizers. These purchases helped her to enhance soil and crop health, control weeds without herbicides, naturally control pest populations, and keep toxic chemicals off the farm. “The grant funds were incredibly helpful,” says Rachel. “I’m a one-woman farming operation. The funds helped me acquire many useful tools for my farm, reduce financial stress, and have allowed me to share more local flowers with my community. I’m very grateful to the Ag Grant Program for helping my little farm chase big dreams!”
Farmer RJ XX started raising and selling mums four years ago on his XX County farm. He mixed the soil and potted them individually by hand and was able to process 1,000 plants per year. After receiving funds from the 2022 Ag Grant program, he purchased a potting machine to help with soil mixing and pot filling and increased his production to 6,000 mums this year. The grant also helped him purchase a cold box for refrigeration and storage. “The cold box keeps produce fresh for an additional 2-3 days, meaning less waste and more revenue,” says RJ. “Without the funds from the grant program, I wouldn’t have been able to scale up.” RJ’s goal is to be a full-time farmer.
A new grant cycle will soon be starting for 2023. XX County will begin accepting applications on January 1, 2023. Farmers and owners of agricultural enterprises are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity and apply for the grant program. For more information about the XX’s Ag Grant program, visit: (website link).
About the XX: Since 2003, the XX has fostered planning and development in XX, XX, and XX counties. XX affords federal, state, county, and local governments a regional forum to identify issues and opportunities. XX plans and implements programs to improve the quality of life in the XX Region of XX.