Farmers: Applications due for 2015 Grants Dec. 15th!

2015 Grant Applications for Individual Farmers and Collaborative Groups

Our grant program assists farmers and rural communities to develop new sources of agricultural income through the provision of cost-share grants. The program awards grants of up to $8,000 to individual farmers, or $10,000 for collaborative farmer projects in North Carolina. Please read our eligibility requirements carefully as they have changed from previous years.

Eligible North Carolina Counties

For this year, farmers and collaborative groups located in the following 15 counties are eligible to apply: Alamance, Bertie, Caswell, Chowan, Duplin, Franklin, Greene, Halifax, Hertford, Johnston, Lenoir, Person, Northampton, Sampson, Wayne.

Important Dates

Application deadline: December 15, 2014
Award notification: February 28, 2015


If you are planning to apply, please contact Jean Willoughby, Project Director, at 919-621-8453 or [email protected] as soon as possible to let us know that you plan to submit an application. RAFI’s staff is also able to provide application assistance and answer any questions you may have.

Click on the links below to download the applications:

Farmer Eligibility

  • Farmers must earn at least 50% of their personal income from their farm operation.
  • Past grantees who have received a grant from RAFI or the NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission are not eligible to apply.
  • Priority will be given to projects that demonstrate a way to replace lost tobacco income.
  • High priority will be given to innovative projects that show a new direction or opportunity for NC farmers.

Collaborative Farmer Project Eligibility

A collaborative farmer project may be proposed by a group of farmers, farm co-ops, farmer associations, churches, local businesses, civic organizations or combinations of these. Proposed collaborative projects must include at least three eligible farmers who are active in the leadership of the project.

Application Submission Options

  • Print and mail your application to: RAFI, PO Box 640, Pittsboro, NC 27312
  • Email your application to: [email protected] with the subject line “Grant application 2015”
  • Fax your application with a cover sheet including your name to: 919-542-0069
  • Print and deliver your application to RAFI, 274 Pittsboro-Elementary School Rd, Pittsboro, NC

Preferred method: Download a Word document of the application and type your responses on a computer and then email your completed application to Jean Willoughby at [email protected].

Application Information

The program supports innovative, replicable on-farm enterprises. We fund projects that:

  • demonstrate an ability to generate new farm income;
  • establish new markets for local products and services;
  • develop new uses for existing greenhouses, tobacco facilities and equipment;
  • add value to existing farm products by processing, packaging or marketing in a special or innovative way;
  • maintain or create quality employment opportunities, including self-employment or opportunities for home-based businesses; or
  • make optimal use of on-farm and natural resources.

Suitable expenses are those associated with the production and marketing of diversified farm enterprises and agritourism endeavors. Examples include, but are not limited to: seeds, fertilizer, plants, amendments, livestock, trainings, advertisements, packaging, fences, signage, facilities, supplies, tools and specialized equipment.

Grant funds can be used to offset costs for: specialized equipment; retrofitting and adaptation of existing equipment; supply needs; outreach expenses; new marketing, handling or processing operations; labor for contractors, employees.

Grant funds cannot be used for: purchase of livestock; new, general-use farm equipment.

Grants are awarded on a competitive basis. You must submit an application in order to be considered for a grant. You may download a copy of the application and complete the application on your computer, or you may print out a copy and fill it out by hand. Typed applications are strongly preferred. You may also contact Jean Willoughby at 919-621-8453 to request an application or further assistance.


All applications are due in RAFI’s office by Friday, December 5, 2014 by 5:00 pm. Applications that arrive after the deadline will not be considered for funding.

Award Decisions: The Review Board reviews the applications and makes recommendations on projects to be funded. Review Board members include farmers with backgrounds in tobacco and/or income diversification, university researchers, marketing specialists, lending experts, and church and community leaders. Farmers who serve on the board are not eligible for grants. Applicants may be asked to attend a meeting with the Review Board to review their proposal. An evaluation worksheet is included below, which includes the criteria the reviewers will use to evaluate proposals. Applicants will be notified of the status of their application by February 28, 2015.

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