National agriculture preservation organization steps up to mitigate economic loss
FRANKFORT — Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles wants Kentucky farmers to be aware of cash grants up to $1,000 available from the American Farmland Trust (AFT) to help weather potential market disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“American Farmland Trust says it best: ‘No farms, no food,’” Commissioner Quarles said. “I want to praise this organization for launching a Farmer Relief Fund to provide another way for farmers to keep whole during the COVID-19 pandemic. I encourage Kentucky producers to see if they qualify for the grants and urge Kentuckians to locate producers they can support at kyproud.com.”
The Farmer Relief Fund program details can be found at www.farmland.org/relief.
Initially, eligible applicants include small and mid-size direct-market producers. These are defined as producers with annual gross revenue of between $10,000 and $1 million from sales at farmers’ markets and/or direct sales to restaurants, caterers, schools, stores, or makers who use farm products.
“AFT is focused on calling immediate attention to the struggle of the farmers who have been suddenly cut off from their main sources of revenue or seen them reduced. We want to help by providing funds to bridge the gap,” said John Piotti, AFT president and chief executive officer. “But this crisis also elevates the need for AFT’s broader work, getting farming right before it is too late. We can’t let this crisis slow us down. If agriculture is to have a future, if we are to have a future, we must work hard to protect our agricultural resources, including the land, the soil, and the people who steward both.”
AFT envisions an initial application round extending until April 23, with grants beginning to be made by May 1.
AFT is the only national organization that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, the agricultural practices used on that land, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work. AFT launched the conservation agriculture movement and continues to raise public awareness through our No Farms, No Food message. Since AFT’s founding in 1980, the organization has helped permanently protect over 6.5 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally-sound farming practices on millions of additional acres, and supported thousands of farm families.
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