WNC AgOptions – Now Accepting Grant Applications for Family Farms

Posted On September 13, 2023— Written By
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John Cantrell of Mashburn Branch Vineyard – a 2023 WNC AG Options Recipient

WNC AgOptions is now accepting applications from farmers diversifying or expanding their farm business. Cash awards are available in the amount of $4,000 or $8,000 with budgets that are at least 10% higher than the amount of the award request. Examples of funded farm operations from previous years include: fruits & vegetables, livestock, nurseries, agritourism, beekeeping and value-added processing. While agriculture is a varied and diverse industry that can be defined in many ways, WNC AgOptions favors 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.

Since 2004 supported by the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, WNC AgOptions has provided grant funding for farmers wanting to diversify or expand their production in the following defined counties/units: Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Clay, Cleveland, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, and Yancey Counties and the Eastern Band of Cherokee.

For more information about this excellent funding opportunity go to the 2024 Grant Application & Guidelines website. To view the application directly click here .

The following are helpful tips in writing a successful grant proposal:
  • Intent to apply (October 13). It’s important let your County Extension Agent know you plan to apply. If your project involves livestock, beekeeping, hemp and forage crops contact Joe Deal 828 349 2052 or joe_deal@ncsu.edu. If your project involves vegetables, nursery, flowers, berries, or other specialty crops then contact Christy Bredenkamp at 828 349 2049 or clbreden@ncsu.edu
  • Plan & research your topic in depth e.g., the market, your customers, income, expenses and more. Review the WNC AgOptions website to gather ideas from previous recipients.
  • Be precise but thorough in your grant proposal. When answering questions, be mindful some questions have 2-5 components.
  •  Write the proposal as if the reader is not familiar with your type of farming operation.
  • Have others review your proposal including your local Extension Agent.
  • Experienced reviewers look over your proposals so don’t exaggerate your budget numbers or expected income. It’s normal if you see little to no expected income in the first year.
  • Include two quality letters of support from partners or cooperators who will help you complete your project goals. Choose individuals who will provide advice or assistance.
  • Don’t forget to get your application notarized.
  • Application deadline is November 17, 2023.
  • For additions tips go to:  https://wncagoptions.org/grant-writing-tips/

There will be several upcoming informational meetings about the WNC AgOptions grant program for growers and producers throughout the counties from September 14 through September 28, 2023. Click the following link for places, dates, and times.

For more in information contact the Macon Extension Center at 828 349 2046.

Jodie McCord - Great Blue Farms

Jodie McCord of Great Blue Farms – a 2022 WNC AG Options recipient