Tractor Supply Company and its foundation have partnered with American Farmland Trust to support small family farmers and ranchers through a $100,000 donation to AFT’s Brighter Future Fund. The fund, launched in 2020 to help farmers across the country start, grow, and sustain farms in the face of myriad challenges, including COVID-19, severe weather, and shifting markets. This donation marks the third consecutive year that the Tractor Supply Company Foundation has supported AFT.
“As a business committed to serving and supporting those who live and love the rural lifestyle, Tractor Supply has a unique passion and respect for our nation’s family-owned farms and ranches,” said Mary Winn Pilkington, president of the Tractor Supply Company Foundation. “We are dedicated to doing our part to support the viability of farming for future generations. It is so inspiring to read these farmers’ stories and a true privilege to support them through these grants.”
Through its donation, the Tractor Supply Company Foundation will fund 20 grants of $5,000 each to help farmers improve farm viability; access, transfer or permanently protect farmland; and adopt regenerative agricultural practices. Eligible projects may involve one or more individual farmer(s) or farm families, and grants are typically awarded to those who have been historically underserved or lack access to traditional methods of funding. AFT received hundreds of applications from 48 states for the 2022-2023 Brighter Future Fund grants. Additional contributions to the Fund will allow AFT to support more farmers.
“Farmers must be resilient and financially stable in order to address some of the greatest challenges facing our society,” said David Haight, vice president of programs at AFT. “The Brighter Future Fund makes small investments that have big impact with participating farmers – particularly those who face barriers to accessing other types of support.”
Previous grants have been used to support:
- Glenn Hope Care Farm in Red Lion, Pennsylvania, to build a new brooder house and Cornish hen pen to expand its poultry production. The farm’s owner, Aimee Morris, is a female veteran who transitioned her family’s 60-year-old farm into a nonprofit to help veterans overcome the trauma of combat through farming activities.
- Three Dogs Seed Farm in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, to drill a well and install a solar-powered pump to water crops during periods of drought, increasing the farm’s resilience and viability and reducing crop loss. Danielle Fegan, or Little Fox Woman as she is known in the Ojibwe-Anishinaabe community, started Three Dogs in 2020 to contribute to regional seed and food sovereignty progress for both Tribal and non-Tribal community members through seed offerings and seed-keeping education.
- VEGGI Farmers Cooperative in New Orleans, Louisiana, to improve infrastructure and mitigate issues such as erosion and flooding. VEGGI farmers are Vietnamese Americans who emigrated to the U.S. after the Vietnam War, many of whom lost their jobs after the BP oil spill. The farm is a way for community members to earn income through produce sales.
“AFT is incredibly grateful for the support of partners like Tractor Supply Company that allows us to expand the Brighter Future Fund and impact more farmers than ever before,” said Ryan Lauer, director of corporate sponsorships at AFT. “Farms are vital to feeding our society, providing jobs and sustaining the vitality of rural America. These grants provide much-needed support for hardworking farmers.”
In addition to impacting recipients, Brighter Future Fund grants are critical to generating solutions that resolve key challenges facing the country’s agricultural communities, including feeding society, sustaining the vitality of rural America, ensuring clean drinking water, fighting the climate crisis and ensuring the availability of wildlife habitat.
The Brighter Future Fund was initially seeded with a generous contribution from Tillamook, one of America’s best-known farmer-owned co-ops. Additional supporters include Butcher Box, Domino’s Pizza, Giant Food, iHeart Radio, and members of American Farmland Trust.