Commission offers grants to producers

Published 9:02 am Thursday, April 13, 2017

Producers in 15 Central and Southside Virginia counties are eligible for matching grants this year under a program funded by the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission.

According to a press release, during a January meeting in Richmond, “the Tobacco Commission approved $400,000 in Agribusiness funding for the Central Virginia Pasture, Crops and Livestock Grant. The Central Virginia Pasture, Crops and Livestock Grant offers producers in a 15-county region an opportunity to apply for a cost share incentive of up to $3,300 per producer.”

According to the release, the project includes Amelia, Appomattox, Bedford, Brunswick, Buckingham, Campbell, Charlotte, Cumberland, Franklin, Halifax, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Nottoway, Pittsylvania and Prince Edward. “The grant focuses on pasture conversion/production, by providing pasture watering systems; crop/feed storage, by providing for grain bins, grain dryers, and hay barns; and livestock management structures such as head gates, squeeze chutes, scales and Calf Catchers. These programs are aimed at enhancing farm profitability with corresponding benefits to the region’s overall economy. Cost share funds will be available to agricultural producers who meet all eligibility requirements.”

Robert Spiers, chairman of the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission’s AgriBusiness Committee, said in the release, “Farming has always been a key part of the economy in Central and Southern Virginia.”

“As we work to develop a diverse economy in these areas it is important that we also support industries, such as agriculture, that have a long history of providing vital jobs and income. This grant is aimed at doing exactly that and I am pleased that the Tobacco Commission approved these funds to help farms remain profitable,” he said.

Producers interested in applying for funding must attend a minimum of one informational/educational session offered by Virginia Cooperative Extension prior to applying for funds. A session will be offered at the Prince Edward Extension, Farmville on May 23 at 3 p.m.

“Cost share applications will be accepted beginning 8 a.m. on Thursday, June 1 at the Virginia Cooperative Extension offices in the participating counties. Funding is limited and will be provided to producers on a first-come-first-serve basis with special consideration given to producers who have never received a Tobacco Grant. Cost Share Grants under this program will only be awarded on a one-time basis per producer, per family and/or per farm. For more information on this program, please contact your local extension agent or this office,” officials said in the release.

“The Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission is a 31-member body created by the 1999 General Assembly to promote economic growth and development in tobacco-dependent communities, using proceeds of the national tobacco settlement. To date, the commission has awarded 2,036 grants totaling more than $1.1 billion across the tobacco region of the commonwealth, and has provided $309 million in indemnification payments to tobacco growers and quota holders.”