“The 2014 funding cycle will represent a decade of service to our agricultural industry through farmer grants, educational seminars and technical assistance,” said Ross Young, Madison County Extension Director and WNC AgOptions steering committee leader. ”Since 2004, more than 350 farmer grants and several community grants have been awarded. We are extremely grateful to the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission as the sole funder of this program since its inception.”
Applications for the 2014 grant cycle are available at www.wncagoptions.org and at local Cooperative Extension Centers. Interested applicants should contact their local Extension Agents by November 1 to notify them that they intend to apply. Extension Agents work closely with the recipients throughout the grant cycle, giving them moral support and answering questions.
WNC AgOptions welcomes four more counties to its now 22-county/unit coverage area: Burke, Caldwell, Cleveland and Rutherford. Other eligible counties are: Avery, Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga and Yancey counties as well as the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
The administrator of WNC AgOptions is WNC Communities, a non-profit organization that has been improving agriculture in the region since 1947. WNC Communities provides a unique forum for leaders in western North Carolina to carry out innovative programs to improve the quality of life for rural communities and to enhance the agriculture economy.