AboutThe 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 Manager, Ben Paynter, for more information at ben(at)rafiusa.org.
HistoryRAFI 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.
Past 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.
ImpactThe 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