Agricultural Reinvestment Fund


The Agricultural Reinvestment Fund assists innovative and entrepreneurial farmers and collaborative farmer groups in developing new sources of agricultural income through the provision of cost-share grants. The program awards grants of up to $8,000 to individual farmers and up to $10,000 for collaborative farmer projects located in North Carolina. We currently award at least 20 grants per year. Contact our Project Director, Jean Willoughby, for more information at jean(at)

The interactive map below features the more than 500 farmers and collaborative agricultural groups that have been awarded grants since the start of the program in 1997. Click on any point to see the project title and name of the grant recipient.


RAFI initiated the grant program in 1997 to assist farmers transitioning out of conventional tobacco production transform their farms and put their own ideas to work. Today, the grant program is dedicated to assisting all kinds of farmers in transforming and strengthening their farms, enhancing their sustainability and financial viability. In 2002, RAFI began receiving funding from the NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission to expand the program to serve more farmers all across North Carolina. The grant program continues to rely on the generous support of the Commission. NCTTFC-Logo-156x94

Click here to view a list of past grant recipients.

Click here to see a list of the current grant recipients. Stay tuned for project updates on our blog!


IMG_1096 (1)History

In 1997, RAFI created a cost-share grant program to help farmers replace lost tobacco income by putting their own ideas to work. The Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund (TCRF) program began as a four-county pilot and has expanded with support from the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission to serve all 100 counties in the state.

Today, the program operates under a new name, the Agricultural Reinvestment Fund, and supports farmers and rural communities in developing new and innovative sources of agricultural income through the provision of cost-share grants. The enterprises supported through this program represent a wide variety of lessons and experiences relevant to thousands within the state’s agricultural industry.

Calyb-Hare-Field-IMG_3118Past projects have included hundreds of innovative initiatives: model pack-houses, mobile farmers markets, heritage poultry breeding, farm-to-school projects, specialty produce, micro-dairy bottling, cheese-making, low tunnel season extension, tropical plant production, wind-powered farms, model collaborative marketing ventures, and much more.


The economic impact of the program has two components, an investment impact resulting from grantees’ spending on new equipment, buildings, and other improvements; and an operational impact resulting from the expansion of grantees’ farming operations.

“The Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund supported the creation of between 578 and 583 new jobs in 2008-09, between 1,708 and 1,721 new jobs in 2009-10, and between 1,861 and 1,890 new jobs in 2010-11. In the three years analyzed for this report, the TCRF created or induced the creation of over 4,100 new jobs in North Carolina.”

– Dr. Andew Brod, The Economic Impact of RAFI-USA’s Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund


Flower Seedlings growing in  the greenhouse at Bluebird Meadows made possible by the ARF grant program.

Flower Seedlings growing in the greenhouse at Bluebird Meadows made possible by the ARF grant program.


RAFI’s Agricultural Reinvestment Fund is supported by a grant from the NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission. We thank the Tobacco Trust Fund Commission for their commitment to North Carolina farmers and to RAFI’s work to support them.