Grants available for producers

Published 10:43 am Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Producers in 15 Central and Southside Virginia counties will be eligible for matching grants this year under a program funded by the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission (VTRRC).

According to a press release, during its Jan. 10 meeting in Richmond, the Tobacco Commission approved $400,000 in agribusiness funding for the Central Virginia Pasture, Crops and Livestock Grant. “The Central Virginia Pasture, Crops and Livestock Grant offers producers in a 15-county region an opportunity to apply for a cost share incentive of up to $3,300 per producer. This project includes the counties of Amelia, Appomattox, Bedford, Brunswick, Buckingham, Campbell, Charlotte, Cumberland, Franklin, Halifax, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, Pittsylvania, and Prince Edward,” according to a press release. “The grant focuses on pasture conversion/production, by providing pasture watering systems; crop/feed storage, by providing for grain bins, grain dryers and hay barns; and livestock management structures such as head gates, squeeze chutes, scales and Calf Catchers. These programs are aimed at enhancing farm profitability with corresponding benefits to the region’s overall economy. Cost-share funds will be available to agricultural producers who meet all eligibility requirements.”

“Farming has always been a key part of the economy in Central and Southern Virginia,” said Robert Spiers, chairman of the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission’s Agribusiness Committee. “As we work to develop a diverse economy in these areas, it is important that we also support industries, such as agriculture, that have a long history of providing vital jobs and income. This grant is aimed at doing exactly that and I am pleased that the Tobacco Commission approved these funds to help farms remain profitable.”

Producers interested in applying for funding must attend a minimum of one informational/educational session out of eight opportunities offered by Virginia Cooperative Extension prior to applying for funds, according to the press release.

“These sessions have been scheduled at the following locations on the dates and times listed: Ag Marketing Center, Halifax, May 2 at 7 p.m.; Southern Piedmont AREC, Blackstone, May 11 at 3 p.m.; Franklin Center, Rocky Mount, May 11 at 6 p.m.; Estes Center, Chase City, May 18 at 3 p.m.; Olde Dominion Building, Chatham, May 18 at 9 a.m.; County Annex Building, Lawrenceville, May 10 at 6 p.m.; Lynchburg Livestock Market, Lynchburg, May 16 at 6:30 p.m.; and Prince Edward Extension Office, Farmville, May 23 at 3 p.m.

“Cost-share applications will be accepted beginning 8 a.m. on June 1 at the Virginia Cooperative Extension offices in the participating counties. Funding is limited and will be provided to producers on a first-come-first-serve basis with special consideration given to producers who have never received a Tobacco Grant. Cost Share Grants under this program will only be awarded on a one-time basis per producer, per family and/or per farm. For more information on this program, please contact your local extension agent or this office.”

According to the press release, the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission is a 31-member body created by the 1999 Virginia General Assembly to promote economic growth and development in tobacco-dependent communities, using proceeds of the national tobacco settlement. “To date, the commission has awarded 2,036 grants totaling more than $1.1 billion across the tobacco region of the commonwealth, and has provided $309 million in indemnification payments to tobacco growers and quota holders.”