Agricultural Reinvestment Fund

RAFI-USA’s Agricultural Reinvestment Fund grant program assists entrepreneurial and innovative farmers and collaborative groups in developing new sources of agricultural income. This grant program has funded more than 600 farming projects and distributed more than $6 million in funds to agricultural communities.

In partnership with the NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, the Agricultural Reinvestment Fund awards grants of up to $9,000 to individual farmers and up to $11,000 for collaborative farmer projects located in North Carolina. We award at least 25 grants per year.

RAFI-USA initiated the grant program in 1997, originally known as the Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund, to help beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers in historically tobacco-dependent communities transition their farms to become more economically viable. Today, the grant program is dedicated to helping all types of farmers transform and strengthen their farms, enhancing their sustainability and financial viability. In turn, grant recipients are able to demonstrate new ideas and innovative models for farm profitability to other farmers in their communities.

Program Impact (2012-2017)

  • 122 cost-share grants awarded to farmers
  • 606 jobs created
  • 25,808 acres of farmland preserved
  • $1 Million invested in rural communities
  • $1,227,964.48 invested by farmers

2018 Grant Program

RAFI-USA is pleased to announce its 2018 grant program received 90 applications, 83 of which were eligible for the program. This year, we awarded 26 grants. Here are the highlights:
  • $225,000 awarded to 26 projects
  • 23 grants to individual farmer projects
  • 3 grants to collaborative farmer groups
  • Types of projects include: dairy, education, fiber, fruits, grains, horticulture, hydroponics, livestock, marketing, medicinal herbs, poultry and value-added products
  • Grantees represent 16 counties:  Alamance, Bertie, Caswell, Chatham, Chowan, Durham, Franklin, Granville, Northampton, Orange, Person, Randolph, Rowan, Vance, Wake, Warren
  • 5 recipients are former tobacco quota holders
  • 10 recipients are current or former tobacco farmers
  • ~ 49% are Beginning Farmers (under 10 years in operation)
  • ~ 42% are Young Farmers (age 35 and under)
  • ~ 5% are Veteran Farmers
  • ~ 36% are Women Farmers
  • ~ 25% are Socially Disadvantaged Farmers

2018 Grant Recipients

Phillip Barker, Olusanya LLC – Granville County
Converting Existing Dairy Barn to a Solar Powered Grow Tunnel

Flower seedlings in the greenhouse at Bluebird Meadows made possible by our Agricultural Reinvestment Fund grant program.
Kamal Bell, Sankofa Farms LLC – Orange County
Project Sanjofa (Bring Life to the Desert)

Chas Edens, Edens Meats LLC – Orange County
Scaling Up: Retrofitting Retired Farm Equipment to Increase the Profitability of Pastured Poultry

William Fricks, Fricks Apiaries – Orange County
Fricks Apiaries Closed Population Breeding Program

Josh Galloway – Vance County
Mobile Honey Extraction Trailer

Austin Genke, Boxcarr Farms – Orange County
Boxcarr Farms Pasture and Livestock Management

Michael Goodson, Kidd Farms LLC – Wake County
Transitioning from Tobacco to Orchard Grass

Michael Graves, Porte’Lu Farms – Caswell County
A Marketable Hops Production

Jesse Hamilton, Broken Spoke Farm – Orange County
Broken Spoke Ice Cream Stand

Brandon Hamrick, Carolina Farmhouse Dairy – Durham County
Carolina Farmhouse Dairy

Emanuel Hayden, Homestead Asili – Rowan County
Turkeys, Hatch to Table

Victor Hunt, Hunt Family Farm – Warren County
Keep me Cool in Warren County

Frederick Inglis, Somerset Farm – Chowan County
Secotan Market: A Collaborative Producer-Only Marketing Project for NE NC

B. Ray Jeffers, B.R. Jeffers Farms – Person County
Jeffers Farms Rebirth

Matthew Ballard & Emma Mankin, Benevolence Farm – Alamance County
Farm-based Body Care Products

Alesia Moore, Shepherd’s Gate Fiber Mill & Discovery Farm – Franklin County
Baa Baa Black Sheep – Wool & Fiber Processing Improvement

Eva Moss, Heartstrong Farm – Randolph County
Infrastructure Improvements and Creative Documentation of CSA Farm

Nicole Owens, Durham Greens – Durham County 
Increasing Farming Efficiency through Hydroponics: Vertical Growing System

Randall Page, Page Farm
Page Farm Hemp Trial

Jim Pellegrini, Western Wake Farmers Market, Inc.
Mobile Multi-Purpose Processing Unit

Monica Rivera, Cultivating Resistance Herbals – Durham County
Cultivating Resistance Herbals Farm Expansion

Thomas Justin Robinson, Stonemint – Durham County
Stonemint Seeds

Anna Sonnewald, Anna’s Homestead
Anna’s Homestead

Demetrius and Janel Thompson, Thompson Farm – Durham County
Thomas Farm Greenhouse Retrofit

Matthew Vaughn, The Carolina Homeplace Farm, LLC
New Life for Old Farm Infrastructure

Patrique Veille, Bear Fiber LLC
Collaborative Project
Value Added Producer Processing of a “New” Rotational Agricultural Fiber in NC, Hemp

Past Grant Recipients

Click here to view a list of past grant recipients.

2019 Grant Application Period Now Open!

RAFI-USA is  now accepting applications for our 2019 Agricultural Reinvestment Fund grant program. 2019 grants are currently only available in the North Carolina counties listed below. To learn more about the 2019 program, download the 2019 Agricultural Reinvestment Fund grant flyer.

If you’re considering applying for a grant, please click here to complete our grant inquiry form, find out about upcoming Outreach Sessions, and submit an application.

2019 Eligible Counties

Alamance, Bertie, Caswell, Chatham, Chowan, Davidson, Davie, Durham, Franklin, Granville, Halifax, Hertford, Northampton, Orange, Person, Randolph, Rowan, Vance, Wake, and Warren

Important Dates for the 2019 Grant Application Period

Early bird deadline: November 30, 2018

Final application deadline EXTENDED: 5:00pm EST, January 8, 2019

Award notification no later than: March 1, 2019

Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply by the Early Bird deadline. Applicants who submit their application by the Early Bird deadline have the opportunity to receive feedback and resubmit their application by the final deadline if they elect to do so.

Useful Links about Previous ARF Projects

Growing Innovation website – catalogs many previously-funded RAFI-USA projects

Short descriptions of previously-funded RAFI-USA projects

Other Grant Opportunities

RAFI-USA has compiled a list of similar grant opportunities throughout NC funded by the NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission. Learn about them here.

RAFI-USA’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-USA’s work to support them.