Agriculture News: Getting money for the small-scale farm

By Keenan Bishop, Published:

How many times have you said to yourself, “If I only had a……..” or “If only the government wanted to help us little guys…..”? That’s how the KSU website for the Small Scale Farm Grant Program starts out. Sounds interesting huh?

According to Mac Stone, Director of the KSU Center for Sustainability of Farms and Families, the time has come. Now there is a grant opportunity for small-scale farms to secure funds for that critical piece of equipment, or for that marketing infrastructure to help you grow your business.

The Small Scale Farm Grant Program is administered through the Kentucky State University College of Agriculture, Food Science, and Sustainable Systems’ Center for Sustainability of Farms and Families. Mac advises those interested in applying to take some time to answer the questions with sufficient detail so the Grant Review Committee may thoroughly assess your application.

The Guidelines and application are available at http://www.kysu.edu/NR/rdonlyres/3FE0BC1D-D7CD-4ABA-ACDC-638D8C921F67/0/CSFFApplication.pdf

What can you use the money for?

Aquatic farmers and certified organic farmers can use the funds for equipment and operating expenses to produce and market their products. Farmers formally seeking organic certification with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture also qualify.

Any small scale farmer looking to improve the marketability of their agricultural products by some value-added process may qualify for funds. Funds cannot be used to purchase motorized vehicles or motorized equipment. You cannot pay yourself or your family for labor. Contract labor is allowable.

If approved, the grant will cover up to 100 percent of eligible expenses outlined in the application budget; but no more than $5,000 per year for individuals and no more than $15,000 per year for organizations.

Who is eligible for a CSFF grant?

Anyone meeting the following criteria is eligible to apply:

nA Kentucky farm that produces agricultural products for sale to the public and had gross agricultural sales greater than $1,000 and below $250,000 in 2011. This is a self-declaration, but the contract will have language stating it must be verifiable.

n A formal, non-governmental association including for-profit and not-for-profit corporations and cooperatives that serve Kentucky farms. Special considerations will be made for limited resource farmers (household income of less than $23,000/year), small acreage producers, female farmers, minority farmers, and the 53 “Appalachian” counties. Grantees must comply with all health, food safety and other federal, state and local laws. KSU employees and their immediate family members are not eligible.

Mac goes on to explain that if you are unsure of how to address your operation to complete the application, he can have someone assist you. There is no rush to apply as there are several rounds of application reviews. They can also assist you with obtaining funds from other government agencies if they are pertinent to your operation.

It is their intent to help as many as possible, so examine your operation closely to identify a key missing component that would improve efficiency, expand capacity or meet the specifications required to legally sell your product. The application and scoring mechanism is designed to help you with that critical element.

You may apply using the paper form (http://www.kysu.edu/NR/rdonlyres/3FE0BC1D-D7CD-4ABA-ACDC-638D8C921F67/0/CSFFApplication.pdf) or using the online form (http://www.kysu.edu/landGrant/CSFF/csffgrants_online_application.htm).

For help or information contact Mac at 502-597-6831 or by email at mac.stone@kysu.edu. Let him know if you would like someone to visit your farm or business to assist with identifying the best way to utilize the funds for improving your operation.

DIVISION OF CONSERVATION STATE COST SHARE

The Franklin County Conservation District is now accepting Kentucky Soil Erosion and Water Quality Cost Share Applications on a continuous basis. This continual sign-up is designed to make the program more “landowner friendly” and help address the needs of a landowner at any time during the year.

As landowners plan conservation projects with the assistance of their local conservation district, they will be able to apply for financial assistance for those projects without having to wait for a designated signup period.

Thousands of Kentucky landowners have received state assistance through the Kentucky Soil Erosion and Water Quality Cost Share Program. Known informally as State Cost Share, the program was created in 1994 and helps landowners implement best management practices to protect soil and water resources on their property.

Since the program’s inception, more than $129 million has been approved for use in implementing best management practices through more than 15,000 submitted applications. This money has assisted landowners in all of Kentucky’s 120 counties.

Many state cost share practices are offered through the State Cost Share Program. Some examples are: agriculture and animal waste control facilities, streambank stabilization, animal waste utilization, vegetative filter strips, integrated crop management, pesticide containment, sinkhole protection, pasture and hay land forage quality and heavy use area protection. A list of all practices is available at http://conservation.ky.gov/Pages/StateCostShare.aspx.

The Kentucky Soil Erosion and Water Quality Cost Share Program is funded through the Tobacco Settlement Funds and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. For the 2013 program year, $2.5 million will be available to landowners across the state.

For more information on the Kentucky Soil Erosion and Water Quality Cost Share Program, visit the Franklin County Conservation District located at 103 Lakeview Court. You may also call the district at 502/695-5203, Extension 3.

NEW PUBLICATIONS AVAILABLE

We now have the new 2013 Beef IRM Calendars available. These are handy for beef cattle management since they have timely suggestions and recommendations for each month. The Equine Calendars of the same design will be in soon too.

The new IRS Farmer Tax Guides are in and available for those doing their farm taxes.

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