State, federal grant money available to farmers

virginia farm bureauTwo of the latest grant opportunities for Virginia farmers and agribusiness operators are the Virginia Farm Business Development Program, announced last fall, and a federal local foods and farmers’ market grant program.

Virginia Farm Business Program grants are designed to complement the Agriculture and Forest Industries Development Fund, which provides grants in conjunction with funding from local governments to boost the rural economy. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumers Services is accepting applications this winter for grants of up to $5,000 for individual producers and small farms. An online application is available at

“VDACS is recruiting applicants that are ready to grow, diversify or plan for the next generation of their business,” said Maggie Beal Longest, Virginia Farm Business Development program coordinator. “The grant will reimburse some of the costs of hiring an expert to help optimize the farm business. It encourages farmers to act as entrepreneurs.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service just announced $27 million in two grant programs for local food operations and farmers’ markets. A webinar on how to apply will be held Feb. 15, and details are available at Successful grant applications are typically for $100,000 or more and are much more competitive, said Chris Cook, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation assistant director of rural development.

“Whenever you’re applying for grant money, make sure the grant fits your project,” Cook said. “Don’t try to make your project fit the grant; you won’t succeed.”

Cook is also executive director of the Virginia Foundation for Agriculture Innovation and Rural Sustainability, a nonprofit foundation that helps Virginia-based producers draw up business plans and apply for grant funds.

“The Virginia grant program can be used for a wide range of opportunities, but the federal grants are very tightly focused,” he noted. “Applying for them will require a lot more financial information and expertise.”

uva basketball team of destiny

Team of Destiny: Inside UVA Basketball's improbable run

Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25.

The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.


Augusta Free Press content is available for free, as it has been since 2002, save for a disastrous one-month experiment at putting some content behind a pay wall back in 2009. (We won’t ever try that again. Almost killed us!) That said, it’s free to read, but it still costs us money to produce. The site is updated several times a day, every day, 365 days a year, 366 days on the leap year. (Stuff still happens on Christmas Day, is what we’re saying there.) AFP does well in drawing advertisers, but who couldn’t use an additional source of revenue? From time to time, readers ask us how they can support us, and we usually say, keep reading. Now we’re saying, you can drop us a few bucks, if you’re so inclined.


augusta free press
augusta free press
augusta free press news