Tobacco Commission grants fund WNC ag efforts
The N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission awarded 23 grants worth more than $4 million for agricultural and economic initiatives across the state.
Grant projects impacting the western region include:
- The Waynesville Public Market received $50,000 for farmers market capital and equipment improvement, serving Haywood County.
- Western North Carolina Agricultural Options, a program that provides small grants directly to on-farm projects, received $849,900 to serve 21 western counties through a grant to WNC Communities.
- The Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, which serves 23 western counties, received $79,000 for efforts to increase small farm profitability.
- The Mountain Valleys Resource Conservation and Development Council received $100,000 for its Energy CAP AgEnergy Program to serve 28 western counties.
The grant program supports projects that assist counties with facility enhancements, universities with research and educational opportunities, commodity groups with marketing and farmers with operations improvements and diversification.
The N.C. General Assembly created the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission in 2000 to lessen the financial impact to farmers and tobacco-related businesses caused by the sharp decline of tobacco in the agricultural economy. The commission’s original funding was established through tobacco industry annual payments as a result of the Master Settlement Agreement. Its current funding comes from a set appropriation of funds.