Commissioner Staples Awards $148,700 in Farmer-Funded Grants to 16 Young Texas Farmers (12/12/2012)

AUSTIN — In an ongoing effort to sustain Texas’ standing as a powerhouse of agricultural productivity, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples today awarded 16 grants to young farmers and ranchers totaling $148,700. The grant program is entirely funded by farmers.

“As today’s farmers and ranchers near retirement, we must find ways to foster a younger generation that will be tasked with feeding a growing population,” Commissioner Staples said. “The Young Farmer Grant Program was created and funded by Texas farmers and ranchers to ensure the future prosperity of their industry by helping younger generations become established and successful in agriculture.”

According to USDA, the average age of Texas farmers and ranchers is 57, with only 6 percent of them under the age of 35. Awarded in amounts up to $10,000 each, the young farmer grants are available to agricultural producers between the ages of 18 and 45 who will create or expand agricultural businesses in Texas. Eligible applicants must be able to make dollar-for-dollar matching expenditures to sustain, create or enhance agricultural operations. Awards range from $5,000 to $10,000 and are funded by agricultural vehicle registration fees paid for by farmers.

In 2009, the 81st Texas Legislature approved the Texas Department of Agriculture’s proposal to establish the first-of-its-kind Young Farmer Grant Program. Two rounds of awards are granted each year. Applications for the next round of Young Farmer Grants will be accepted beginning in April 2013. The deadline for applying is May 3, 2013

For a list of Young Farmer Grant award recipients, click here. For information about the Young Farmer Grant Program, visit www.TexasAgriculture.gov.