Background on the 2005 Program
The Buncombe County Center of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension initiated an effort in the summer of 2003 to obtain a grant from the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission to help stabilize and expand agricultural income and support farmland preservation.
In cooperation with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, Handmade in America, and other Cooperative Extension offices, we were successful in obtaining grant funds for 2005 to address issues related to the development of Agritourism and crop diversification in 11 counties in western North Carolina.
81 grants in 2 years have been provided to cover partial costs of expenses associated with individual agricultural projects and enterprises.
In addition, the grant has funded two multi-county educational workshops held for grant recipients. During the workshops leading experts covered a variety of topics including: farm business, specialty crops, marketing and agritourism.
The NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission in partnership with the NC Cooperative Extension of the West District has created a program to support alternative agricultural enterprises that will help stabilize and expand agricultural income and support farmland preservation.
The NC Department of Agriculture, Handmade in America and the NC Cooperative Extension will provide 30 mini-grants for $2,500 to transition into new crops and or agritourism.