MOUNT OLIVE — The University of Mount Olive Lois G. Britt Agribusiness Center has received $277,000 in funding from the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission. The money will be used to fund year three of a cost share granting program called AgPrime.
AgPrime is available to North Carolina farmers and agribusiness owners for new and innovative ideas that increase farm profits. The UMO Agribusiness Center oversees the program, which will service 33 counties across the state from Montgomery to Currituck, up from 18 counties in 2018. AgPrime is available to North Carolina farmers and agribusiness owners for new and innovative ideas that increase farm profits.
Dr. Sandy Maddox, dean of the School of Agriculture and Biological Sciences, said, “The program is designed to strengthen farms and communities that have been impacted by changes in the tobacco economy.”
As part of the stipulations of the program, UMO will be the managing entity of the funds and review all proposals.
“This helps the Tobacco Trust Fund to provide and impact a greater number of farm families and communities across the state,” Maddox said. “It would be impossible to do so any other way. It also shows that UMO supports agriculture across the state, which is one of our outreach goals.”
UMO AgPrime grants are available to farmers and agribusiness owners in Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Brunswick, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Currituck, Dare, Duplin, Gates, Hertford, Hoke, Hyde, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Montgomery, Moore, New Hanover, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Pender, Perquimans, Onslow, Richmond, Robeson, Scotland, Tyrrell, and Washington counties.
Funding proposals up to $9,000 will be considered for farmers/agribusinesses that are agriculturally dependent and have viable ideas for new and innovative agricultural projects. Priority will be given to persons who earn at least 50% of their personal income from their farm operation or agribusiness entity, and to current and former tobacco farmers or former quota holders.
“We are looking for replicable projects that will help farmers expand and diversify options beyond tobacco,” Maddox said.
Maddox encourages those engaged in agriculture in the targeted counties to apply for funding.
“AgPrime is designed to help farmers and agribusiness owners test creative ideas, implement new marketing strategies, and keep more profit closer to the farm gate,” she stated. “We are excited to once again partner with the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission to bring this important program to our agricultural communities.”
The grant application cycle will open on Nov. 11, 2019 and close on Dec. 20, 2019. For more information, go to, www.umoag.com or contact program coordinators Stan Dixon at 252-526-1587 or Ed Emory at 910-290-1002.