Opinion

Farm Grants for Women

2 Mins read

According to the latest estimates, women comprise more than 40 percent of the global agricultural labor force. In the U.S., approximately one-third of all farm operators are women. Although they only make about $58,000 a year, they still earn more compared to their male counterparts. A growing number of public and private organizations are offering female farming grants in an attempt to close the gender gap and stimulate local economies.

American Agri-Women (AAW)

Founded in 1974, American Agri-Women (AAW) provides its members with scholarships and small farming grants. The organization focuses on the unique challenges faced by female farmers, helping them access the resources needed to succeed in this field. It also hosts industry-related events, interactive online sessions, conventions and webinars for female entrepreneurs with an interest in agriculture.

AAW offers several scholarships that can help you grow your career and build a successful business. The AAW Gail McPherson Fly-In Scholarship, for example, appeals to women of all ages. In order to qualify, you must attend the annual AAW Fly-In and submit an online application. Members who attend the annual AAW Convention may become eligible for the Helen Whitmore Memorial Convention Scholarship, which is worth $500.

Value-Added Producer Grants

Farmers, ranchers and independent producers may apply for grants and matching funds through the VAPG (Value Added Producer Grant) program. The funds are awarded through a competition. Small-scale farmers and beginning farmers enjoy a competitive advantage. Candidates must be planning to invest in value-added agriculture activities, such as the production of organic crops or farm products that will be sold locally.

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Depending on your project, you may receive a grant of $75,000 to $250,000. Beware, though, that you must cover at least half of the total project costs. Eligible candidates may use the funds for planning activities, marketing, research and other business operations.

Simply Organic Giving Fund

Simply Organic is a private organization that supports organic farming. It has its own line of products, including organic spices and seasonings, salads, sauces and baking supplies. One percent of its earnings go toward the Simply Organic Giving Fund. More than $1.5 million have been awarded to organic farming communities since 2001.

Women farmers who wish to apply for a grant must produce, distribute and promote organic foods or offer nutrition counseling with an emphasis on organic produce. In 2019, priority will be given to applicants who provide organic, sustainable food options to food-insecure households and communities. More than 40 million Americans were food insecure in 2017.

SARE Grants and Scholarships

The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program supports American agriculture by rewarding hard-working farmers and ranchers. It provides several grants and scholarships for food producers, farm businesses, nonprofits and graduate students who plan to invest in agriculture.

SARE’s Farmer Rancher Grant Program awards individual grants of up to $9,000 and group grants of up to $27,000. Applicants are required to submit project proposals that support their communities and promote sustainable agriculture. Another option is the Graduate Student Grant Program, which awards up to $15,000 to students with innovative project ideas.

Women farmers can also apply for agricultural grants available through state and federal farm programs. The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP), for example, is funded by the USDA and appeals to new farmers and ranchers. In 2018, eligible candidates received up to $600,000 per project. Depending on your location and business goals, consider applying for the New Farmers Grant Fund in New York, TAFA’s Young Farmer Grant in Texas or the Small-Scale Farm Grant Program in Kentucky.

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