The WNC AgOptions program assists farmers and their communities by strategically supporting diversified crops and/or agriculture tourism ventures.
Economically viable farming operations enhance tourism and sustainable development by retaining open space and wildlife areas that draw people to area. Diversification of income sources is a solid strategy to reach this goal of economic viability.
WNC AgOptions provides mini-grants as an incentive to diversify farm operations that could generate new economic growth in Western North Carolina. The grants provide financial aid to farmers who are taking risks in new markets. The steering committee has designed a formal grant application and scoring system, and awardees undergo periodic evaluations throughout the grant cycle.
N.C. Cooperative Extension Agents meet with applicants prior to submitting their proposal to help develop their projects. Once awarded, WNC AgOptions recipients receive technical and marketing assistance throughout the year.
WNC AgOptions steering committee members include: representatives from N.C. Cooperative Extension, N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Sciences – Marketing, WNC Communities, Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, and other agribusiness leaders.
The state’s economy depends heavily on small businesses, including agricultural ventures. WNC AgOptions projects offer ample opportunity for applicants to market their products locally, so that WNC AgOptions grants go even one step to further improve the local economy and healthy food supply.
Download the AgOptions Economic Impact Study
3MB pdf document