Commissioner Troxler: Cost-Share Grants Available

The NCDA&CS Marketing Division has a couple of cost-share grants available for farmers and farmers markets. Farmers who test their water supply as a part of a pre- and post-harvest food safety program, can apply for reimbursement of a portion of testing fees. Growers will be reimbursed up to $1,000 for lab analyses, and can submit multiple tests for reimbursement.

In addition, the division is also offering cost-share grants to farmers markets for half of the total cost of a market’s 2018 advertising costs up to $2,500.
Friday, March 16, is the deadline for an agritourism marketing co-share grant. More information is available at www.ncagr.gov/markets/agritourism.

 

  • Our Marketing Division is offering a couple of cost-share grants right now that I want to share with listeners. One is geared for farmers who test their water supply as part of a pre- and post-harvest food safety program. Another is focused on splitting advertising costs with farmers markets, and a third one is geared to agritourism operations.

 

  • As part of the farmer-focused grant, growers will be reimbursed for up to $1,000 for lab analyses to determine the presence of generic E.coli bacteria in irrigation or water water.

 

  • Food safety is of paramount concern to me, to growers and to the industry as a whole. Food recalls involving a specific commodity affects every producer of that commodity whether they are involved with it or not.

 

  • I hope that the cost-share program will be an incentive to any producer who currently does not have a water-testing program to implement one. In my opinion, the benefits of a water-testing program easily outweighs the costs.

 

  • The farmer grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Growers can submit multiple tests during the year.

 

  • Monies for the program came through a $92,000 USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant.

 

  • The farmers market advertising grant is designed to help markets stretch their advertising budgets and hopefully expand the reach of their messaging. Markets can qualify for half of the total cost of their advertising, up to $2,500.

 

  • There are more than 250 farmers markets across the state and these are important local venues for farmers and consumers.

 

  • Many markets are operated by municipalities and nonprofits, and I applaud their efforts to support local farmers and provide a venue for consumers to find locally grown foods. Hopefully these grants will help them promote themselves more.

 

  • To qualify, all advertising must be done between March 1 and Dec. 31 of this year. Eligible expenses include advertising on billboards, in magazines, newspapers, and on television, radio and websites.

 

  • The farmers market grant is funded from a $100,000 grant from the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, and I appreciate its support of farmers markets.

 

  • Anyone interested in either cost-share grant should contact marketing specialist Kevin Hardison at 919-707-3123 or by email at kevin.hardison @ncagr.gov.

 

  • Also, we recently extended the deadline to apply for our 2018 agritourism marketing cost-share grant until this Friday, March 16. Funding for this grant comes from the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission. More information is available on our website or by calling Annie Baggett at 919-707-3122.