FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jessica Manly, National Young Farmers Coalition
firstname.lastname@example.org, 518-643-3564 ext. 722
Washington, D.C. (May 29, 2020) – The National Young Farmers Coalition, with support from the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, has selected 50 young farmers and ranchers from across the country to receive $5,000 grants to help them build successful careers in agriculture. Over 1,500 farmers applied for the program in its inaugural year. Thirty-nine out of the 50 grant recipients are Black, Indigenous, or people of color (BIPOC), and over 70% are women, nonbinary, or transgender farmers.
The Young Farmer Grant Program was launched this year with the goal of helping beginning farmers and ranchers, and historically underserved producers in particular, overcome the obstacles they face in growing their farm businesses. With the average age of U.S. farmers approaching 60 years old, 56% of farms losing money in 2019, 100 million acres of farmland predicted to change hands in the next five years, and unprecedented challenges ahead in the wake of the coronavirus, supporting beginning producers has never been more urgent.
Young Farmers is committed to furthering racial equity in agriculture. To ensure that these grants are making access to agricultural careers more equitable, the Coalition committed to awarding a minimum of 50% of grants to BIPOC farmers. Soul Fire Farm Institute based in Petersburg, New York advised on the program to ensure the application would be accessible to farmers of color and helped review applicants as part of the review committee.
Grant recipients plan to use the award money to complete infrastructure projects, purchase new equipment, cover operating costs such as seeds and compost, attend a farmer training program or conference, hire additional farm labor, or to cope with unexpected expenses incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We were blown away by both the passion for agriculture and the talent these farmers demonstrated in their applications. The demand for this program also emphasized how much support is needed in the early years of building a farm business,” said Sophie Ackoff, Co-Executive Director of the National Young Farmers Coalition. “We are honored to grant these impressive young farmers and ranchers $5,000 so that they can build their capacity to provide essential services to their communities.”
“The Young Farmer Grant Program recipients embody the future of farming. They are America’s next generation of farmers working tirelessly to secure a sustainable future with real food for communities nationwide,” said Caitlin Leibert, Head of Sustainability at Chipotle. “Each recipient’s dedication to the survival and success of their farm is both admirable and inspiring, and we hope that the grant funds will help alleviate some of the financial barriers facing young farmers today.”
The National Young Farmers Coalition (Young Farmers) is a national grassroots network of young farmers fighting for a brighter, more equitable future for U.S. agriculture. Visit Young Farmers on the web at www.youngfarmers.org , and on Twitter , Facebook , YouTube and Instagram.