The donation will support AFT’s Brighter Future Fund, providing 85 grants of $10,000 each to help farmers improve farm viability, access, transfer, or permanently protect farmland, and adopt regenerative agricultural practices. Applicants may include one or more individual farmers or farm families. Grants will primarily be awarded to those who have been historically underserved or lack access to traditional methods of funding. Applications open on July 1.
“This donation is an expression of gratitude to our customers and the communities we call home,” said Hal Lawton, president, and CEO of Tractor Supply. “It is also critical to fulfilling our duty as responsible stewards of the environment as America’s farmers play a key role in helping protect our natural resources. We’re honored to contribute to AFT’s important work, ensuring that future generations can live Life Out Here.”
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The $850,000 donation is Tractor Supply’s most significant gift to AFT to date. The company first partnered with AFT in 2020 through the Farmer Relief Fund at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tractor Supply also donated to AFT’s Brighter Future Fund in 2021 and 2022. Tractor Supply’s support of the Brighter Future Fund builds on initial underwriting from Tillamook County Creamery Association.
“AFT is grateful for Tractor Supply’s generous gift and the significant impact these funds will have for awardees. Our nation’s farmers and ranchers work hard and face daily obstacles related to weather, changing economic forces, and the rising costs of land and inputs. AFT just reached $5 million in grants awarded to farmers and ranchers to advance our mission to protect farmland, promote sound farming practices and keep farmers on the land,” said John Piotti, AFT president and CEO.
Since 2020, AFT has made grants to farmers and ranchers in 49 states and Puerto Rico. Past Brighter Future Fund recipients include:
- Rebecca Stimpert of Heartland Farm in Bucklin, Kansas, whose family raises cucumbers, summer squash, beets, beans, tomatoes and okra to make and sell 15 kinds of pickles. Those sales finance the Farm Service Agency loan used to purchase their farmland, which had been in her husband’s family for generations. Additional funding will help replace inefficient and outdated fertilization and irrigation systems and support the purchase of new farming equipment.
- Haydee Borrero of Sheepy Hollow LLC in Ithaca, New York, who runs a mixed-use farm as the sole full-time worker. Brighter Future Fund support allowed Haydee to purchase a handling system to conduct routine health checks and treatment protocols for her flock of American Romney sheep. These sheep can grow to be more than 220 pounds, making them unwieldy to manage. The handling system will help make the farm a safer workplace and a more efficient livestock producer.
- Rafael Vencio of AmBoy Urban Collective LLC in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who farms a quarter acre of land at Hilltop Urban Farm Incubator as part of a four-year tenure. He is working on growing Asian cultivars and heirloom varieties to introduce Filipino cuisine to the community. Rafael plans to use the funds for capital costs to maintain the soil and install drip irrigation and fencing. He will also use it toward transaction costs in securing the lease for the year.