Applications Sought for Renewed Effort to Assist Farmers
Brighter Future Fund Provides Grants Up to $5,000 to Help Farmers
(Washington, D.C.) — American Farmland Trust will begin accepting applications today to help farmers nationwide to improve farm viability, access, transfer or to permanently protect farmland or adopt regenerative agricultural practices.
AFT’s Brighter Future Fund provides grants of up to $5,000 per project. A project may involve one or more individual farmer(s) or farm families and only one grant can be awarded per farmer/farm family. In 2021, the fund will accept applications from farmers who identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Color women, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual who had had limited access to financial resources in the past.
“The Brighter Future Fund helps producers efficiently access funding to address some of the biggest challenges they face,” said David Haight, AFT Vice President of Programs. “This year, the program will focus exclusively on providing resources to producers who have faced systemic barriers in our agricultural system.”
The Brighter Future Fund launched in 2020 to help farmers launch, grow and sustain farms in the face of forces impacting the food and agricultural system, including the COVID-19 pandemic, changing markets, severe weather and climate change. Tillamook County Creamery Association (TCCA), one of America’s favorite farmer-owned co-ops, will make an additional two-year financial commitment to the Brighter Future Fund, building upon its initial gift in 2020.
“As a farmer-owned cooperative, we understand the many challenges farmers face and we’re proud to continue our partnership with American Farmland Trust to assist farmers throughout the U.S.,” said Jocelyn Bridson, TCCA’s Director of Environment & Community Impact. “We were moved by stories of how the 2020 Brighter Future Fund recipients implemented changes on their farm for better environmental or economic resilience and have committed to underwriting this program the next two years. The grants provide a small but important boost to farmers and help address inequalities by targeting funding to farmers that have been underserved in the past including BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and/or women farmers.”
“AFT is inherently grateful for the support of Tillamook and our other partners in continuing the great success of the Brighter Future Fund,” said Ryan Lauer, AFT Director of Corporate Sponsorships. “Tillamook genuinely believes in the value of the fund and its impact on the recipients. Simply put, there would be no fund without them.”
Additional supporters of the 2021 fund include: 72andSunny, Assembly, Barilla, Butcher Box, Food 52, Haus, Olympia Provisions, QVT Financial, Tractor Supply Co., and Vox Media.
For partners Amanda Gentry and Wendy Painter, fifth generation stewards of Gentry Farm in Ashe County, North Carolina, the grant awarded to them in 2021 has proven invaluable to conserve their land, help expand their orchard and sell products directly to their local community.
“Conservation is a really important component of what we do,” said Gentry. “We have a lot, but we want to build on that in a manner that allows us to sustain the farm and provide quality of life.”
Funding will be allocated to help farmers access professional services and pay for equipment or infrastructure costs. The grants make a difference for farmers to improve farm viability; access, transfer or permanently protect farmland; or adopt regenerative farming practices and increase resilience to climate change.
Since 2020, AFT has provided approximately $2.5 million in grants directly to more than 2,000 farmers across the nation for pandemic relief, increased resilience, land access and enhanced viability.
Applications will be reviewed and awarded in the order the applications are received based on eligibility. AFT will continue to receive applications and make awards until available funds are expended. To apply, farmers should submit a completed electronic Brighter Future Fund Application to AFT at https://farmland.org/brighter-future/.
American Farmland Trust is the only national organization that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, the agricultural practices used on that land, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work. AFT launched the conservation agriculture movement and continues to raise public awareness through our No Farms, No Food message. Since our founding in 1980, AFT has helped permanently protect over 6.8 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally-sound farming practices on millions of additional acres and supported thousands of farm families.