The Brighter Future Fund Awards Over $1 Million to Farmers and Ranchers Across the United States
The Brighter Future Fund continues to assist farmers in successfully launching, growing, and sustaining their farms
(Washington, D.C.) In yet another record-breaking year, AFT has awarded over $1 million to 110 farmers across the country through the Brighter Future Fund (BFF), adding to the $4.5 million awarded since 2020. The grant award announcement comes on National Farmer’s Day, recognizing the importance of America’s farmers. 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 demonstration of our ongoing commitment to agriculture across the nation,” said Mary Winn Pilkington, president of the Tractor Supply Company Foundation. “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. Let’s hear from some awardees on the impact of these funds:
“These improvements help me manage my farm in a sustainable way for my health, the health of my flock, and the health of our soil and environment. It’s a win-win-win. Good for the farmer, good for the animals, and good for the planet.” Rachel Catlett, Brown Dog Farm, Wisconsin.
“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, Texas.
“Vamos a poder cumplir un sueno que parecia inalcanzable. Lograr que en un futuro todos los ingresos de mi familia salgan de la granja familiar. Crecer y generar fuentes de empleo.” David Rios, La Buena Tierra, California.
Translation: “We are going to be able to fulfill a dream that seemed unattainable. Ensure that in the future, all of my family’s income comes from the family farm. Grow and generate sources of employment.”
“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,” said Ashley Brucker, Deputy Director of Agriculture Conservation Innovations. “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.”
America’s farmers and ranchers work hard, and face daily obstacles related to weather, changing economic forces, and the rising costs of land and inputs. AFT awards grants to farmers and ranchers to advance our mission to protect farmland, promote sound farming practices and keep farmers on the land. AFT takes extra care to make our application processes straightforward and accessible so that the grants can have a significant impact on a farm’s business and future.
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,” said Paul Snyder, executive vice president of Stewardship at Tillamook County Creamery Association. “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. We’re honored to see that the Brighter Future Fund we launched with American Farmland Trust in 2020 continues to gain momentum, recruit new partners and most importantly, support farmers.”
Learn more about all of AFTs farm grants and ways you can support them.
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 FoodR 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.