American Farmland Trust Launches 2022 Round of the New England Farmer Microgrants Program with Special Emphasis on Regenerative Agriculture for Livestock Operations
Northampton, MA—Today, American Farmland Trust opens applications for the 2022 cohort of the New England Farmer Microgrants Program (NEFMP). Now in its third year, the program continues to address some of the key barriers faced by farmers in the region: access to land, resources to expand production on new or existing land, succession and land transfer planning, and adopting regenerative agriculture or soil health practices on livestock operations. While the Program will continue to fund a wide range of project types across New England, 80% of the funds will be dedicated toward the adoption of regenerative agriculture and soil health practices on livestock operations due to increased funding through the Western New England Regenerative Agriculture Project. Regenerative agricultural practices can help to build the resiliency of our agricultural systems, while sequestering carbon and helping to combat climate change.
Starting this year, AFT will be able to provide at least 100 grants of up $5,000 each to farmers annually for the next 5 years.
“Over the last two years we have provided sixty-nine farmers across New England with direct financial support,” said Jamie Pottern, AFT New England Program Manager. “These funds have proved instrumental in helping a hugely diverse range of farmers get the equipment and services they need to adapt to changing climatic conditions and supply chain issues. We have helped farmers expand their operations, gain access to new land, and plan for their farm’s future. In the midst of the ongoing challenges that farmers are facing, our goal has been to make access to critical funds as simple and streamlined as possible.”
“These funds helped us get a leg up on our beginner farmer journey in both that it paid for the irrigation system itself and that it allowed us to gain the experience and knowledge of how to go about it in the future as we move off the incubator farm,” said Nick Rozowsky of Crown & Roots Farm in Oxford, Massachusetts—a previous NEFMP awardee. “As a startup farm, not going into debt was important for us and even a small microgrant like this is immensely helpful.”
“Knowing that there are organizations out there that want to support farmers in making sustainable changes to their business is a relief and helps us realize that we are not on an island forging a new path,” said Meg Mitchell of South Paw Farm in Freedom, Maine—another prior NEFMP recipient. “We are part of a bigger movement that is fortifying land stewardship practices across the country.”
“AFT works across New England to conserve farmland, protecting farmland by the acre, by the inch, and by the farmer. Nothing makes me prouder than our work on the ground to support the crucial work of our region’s famers,” said Nathan L’Etoile, New England Director for American Farmland Trust. He continued, “Farmers know their lands, their community, and farms better than any of us. With these grants we are helping them to advance their vision for regenerative agriculture on their farms and helping them better secure their future on the land.”
The application process will take place in two rounds, the first closing on January 7th. Those chosen for round two will be required to provide a letter of support from a service provider or advisor, a detailed project narrative and budget. Final awards will be made in mid-March.
Join AFT on December 14th at 12PM (EST) for an engaging live-streamed conversation with Jamie Pottern, New England Program Manager; Kristen Irvin, New England Program Coordinator; and Greg Plotkin, Deputy Director of Digital Communications to discuss the program goals and application process. The event will be streamed on Facebook, Youtube, and Linkedin. Follow AFT on Facebook to learn more.
To learn more about NEFMP and how to apply, visit https://farmland.org/new-england-farmer-microgrants-program-how-to-apply/ or reach out to Kristen Irvin, New England Program Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.