FACT's Fund-a-Farmer Project Awards 18 Grants

Aug 21, 2013, 16:44 ET from Food Animal Concerns Trust

Funded projects to improve animal welfare and farm profitability

CHICAGO, Aug. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) awarded 18 Fund-a-Farmer grants to farmers located across the country – double the number the organization awarded in 2012. The Fund-a-Farmer Project is a competitive microgrants initiative designed to empower livestock and poultry farmers across the nation. Thousands of farm animals have already benefited as a result of this project.

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This year's funded farms are located in 11 states across the nation from California to Massachusetts.  Ten of the funded farms hold at least one of the following sustainable and humane certifications: Certified Organic, Animal Welfare Approved, Certified Naturally Grown, and American Grassfed. Beef cattle, dairy cows, pigs, laying hens, and broiler chickens will all benefit from the funded projects. Several of the projects are marketing focused, while the majority will increase the animals' access to pasture or improve their welfare. 

Some examples of the funded 2013 Fund-a-Farmer projects include:

  • Installing wind curtains on barns for cow comfort and warmth in the winter.
  • Providing fencing and a portable watering system on a new pasture in order to extend the grazing season and allow dairy cows to be outside longer.
  • Designing and constructing mobile housing to protect laying hens and broiler chickens while rotating the birds on pasture.
  • Installing both permanent and portable electric fencing so that the farm can transition to a pasture-based, rotational system for raising hogs.
  • Designing and printing a color brochure to promote the farm's grassfed meat products at farmers' markets.

This year's round of Fund-a-Farmer grants was quite competitive. After receiving 75 eligible applications in May, FACT's final review committee – composed of sustainable farmers with expertise in humane management practices and FACT's Executive Director – met in July and narrowed down the pool to the 18 finalists. The grants range in size from $1,220 to $1,500 and total over $26,000.

Richard Wood, FACT's Executive Director, shared, "In the second year of our Fund-a-Farmer Project, we have now funded 18 innovative proposals that will truly enhance animal welfare as well as the profitability of the farms. We believe that each project brings us closer to the day when all farms are healthy and humane places for animals to live."

The 2013 Fund-a-Farmer grantee farms include:

  • Browder's Birds Pastured Poultry, Southold, NY
  • Catalpa Grove Farm, Dwight, IL
  • Coulter Farms, Honey Grove, PA
  • Cricket Creek Farm, Williamstown, MA
  • Dreamfarm, Cross Plains, WI
  • Equinox Community Farm, Waunakee, WI
  • Foggy Hollow Farm, Joelton, TN
  • Good Life Ranch, LLC, Liberty, KY
  • Henningstead Holsteins, Mehoopany, PA
  • Koch Ranches, Inc., San Antonio, TX
  • LCCW Farm, Lake City, MN
  • Le-Fort's Organic Crops, Creston, CA
  • Ledamete Grass Farm, Schnecksville, PA
  • Midnight Sun Farm, Grayslake, IL
  • Mike & Clare's Farm, Harvard, IL
  • Mil-ton Farms, Ona, WV
  • Skyelark Ranch, Brooks, CA
  • Sunnyside Farm, Dover, PA

Alexis and Gillies Robertson, funded farmers with Skyelark Ranch in Brooks, California stated, "We are getting a lot of requests for our pork, but cannot increase our herd until we have proper fencing in place. This grant will help us continue to grow our business, as well as ensure the pigs are being raised on pasture to our standards." 

FACT launched the Fund-a-Farmer Project in 2011 in response to farmer need and feedback. "Access to this type of funding is rare and extremely valuable to small, sustainable operations.  FACT is helping them thrive in a time of economic uncertainly.  And perhaps most importantly, farm animals are benefiting," said Wood.

FACT looks forward to working with this year's funded farmers to implement their projects, and will post each farm's story on the Fund-a-Farmer website (www.fundafarmer.org). The next application period will open in January 2014 for grants to be given in August 2014.

For more information about the Fund-a-Farmer Project, contact Humane Farming Program Manager Lisa Isenhart at grants@foodanimalconcerns.org

Founded in 1982, FACT is a national nonprofit organization based in Chicago that promotes humane and healthy farms through science-based advocacy, consumer education, and support for humane farmers.

SOURCE Food Animal Concerns Trust