Oct 16, 2023
AFT awards $1 million to farmers

American Farmland Trust (AFT) has awarded over $1 million to 110 farmers across the country through the Brighter Future Fund, adding to the $4.5 million awarded since 2020.

AFT announced the grants on Oct. 12, National Farmer’s Day. This year, 85 Brighter Future Fund grants were made possible through Tractor Supply’s $850,000 donation in honor of the company’s 85th anniversary.

AFT received 1,522 applicants from 48 states during the application period, an all-time high and nearly double the prior year’s applications. Priority was given to applicants who are starting their agricultural pursuits, veterans, socially disadvantaged, women, or have limited resources. Funding was allocated for both professional services and equipment or infrastructure costs, with focus areas including improving farm viability, accessing farmland, and adopting regenerative agricultural practices. To see the full scope of AFT’s grantmaking, visit farmland.org/grantmaking.

“Tractor Supply’s 85th anniversary donation to AFT is a demonstration of our ongoing commitment to agriculture across the nation,” Mary Winn Pilkington, president of the Tractor Supply Company Foundation, said in a news release. “Farmers and farm families are the backbone of our country and the communities we serve. These 85 grant recipients fill us with tremendous optimism about the future of Life Out Here, and we are excited to see how these grants move their farms forward.

This year’s cohort once again includes a wide variety of projects from producers across the country.

“With the funds from AFT, I will be able to install a greenhouse which will help the farm’s production increase by extending my growing season and having seedlings available to plant at all times,” Daphne Bicaise, Daphodill Farm, said in the release.

“As the Brighter Future Fund continues to develop and evolve year to year, it fills me with great pride to see the level of support and recognition this work receives,” Ashley Brucker, deputy director of agriculture conservation innovations, said in the release. “This year’s record-breaking numbers were made possible by not only the generous donor contributions and staff support, but most importantly by the farmers and landowners who take valuable time away from their work to share stories of their land, their background and their vision for the future. We aim to grow our outreach as long as needed for farmers to continue developing through innovation and commitment to agriculture.”

The Brighter Future Fund was launched in 2020 to help farmers across the country start, grow and sustain farms in the face of myriad challenges, including COVID-19, severe weather, and shifting markets. Launched with initial underwriting from Tillamook County Creamery Association, the program seeks to uplift, support and amplify the work of a wide range of farmers and is sustained by the support of AFT’s generous corporate donors like Tractor Supply and thousands of individual members of American Farmland Trust. Tractor Supply also contributed to the Brighter Future Fund in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

“As a farmer-owned co-op, we know that thriving farms are critical to all of our futures,” Paul Snyder, executive vice president of stewardship at Tillamook County Creamery Association, said in the release. “The Brighter Future Fund grant recipients continue to inspire us, and we should all be grateful for their role in keeping our food system strong.”

Additional supporters of the fund include ButcherBox, Domino’s, Giant Foods, iHeartMedia and many generous individuals around the country.

 




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