CHICAGO — Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT), a national nonprofit organization that works to ensure that all food-producing animals are raised in a humane and healthy manner, recently awarded more than $130,000 in Fund-a-Farmer Grants to a diverse slate of 56 livestock farmers and ranchers located across the country.
The grants range from $1,000 to $2,500 and were awarded for projects that improve farm animal welfare and increase the capacity of humane farmers. In solidarity with the movement to address racial inequity in agriculture, half of the grants were made to farmers who identify as Black, Indigenous or People of Color.
Of the 56 total grants, FACT awarded 19 grants to farmers who are seeking to attain or who already hold one of three animal welfare certifications (Certified Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) by A Greener World, Certified Humane, or Global Animal Partnership (GAP) Animal Welfare Certified), and 37 grants to farmers who wish to improve or expand access to pasture for their animals. As in past years, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA) is again generously underwriting the grants to farmers pursuing or holding one of the above animal welfare certifications. Since 2012, FACT has cumulatively awarded 257 grants totaling more than $590,000 to farmers across 44 states, directly benefiting more than 136,000 animals.
“The ASPCA is proud to fund our fourth year of FACT grants to support higher-welfare farmers leading the way toward a more humane, equitable food system, many of whom are often overlooked by agricultural funding streams,” said Kara Shannon, senior manager of Farm Animal Welfare at the ASPCA. “After a particularly challenging year for farmers amid the COVID-19 crisis, it’s encouraging to see the growth of these farms who continued to meet the ever increasing demand for more humane and welfare-certified food in their local communities throughout the pandemic.”
A recent 2021 survey of past grant recipients found that the grants have produced a wide range of long-term benefits. Overall, 98 percent of farmers reported that their FACT-funded projects improved animal welfare, 92 percent experienced a positive environmental impact, and 88 percent found that the grant improved their farm’s financial viability by decreasing expenses, increasing customers and visibility, and ultimately improving net profits. Individual farmers report that their FACT-funded projects have led to an increase in native species, better soil fertility, healthier animals, and a higher quality of life on their operations.
“The ongoing pandemic has exposed both the fragility of the factory food system and the resilience of local, sustainable farms,” said Larissa McKenna, FACT’s Humane Farming Program Director. “For the last nine years, and this year in particular, FACT’s Fund-a-Farmer Grants have provided a needed financial boost for these farmers so that they may continue to do what they do best – care for their animals and provide nourishing, humanely-raised food for people in their communities.”
Ron Simmons, President and Founder of Master Blend Family Farms in Kenansville, NC,received a grant this year to purchase software to track the productivity of his breeding herd in order to increase hog production. The farm has been Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World since 2013. Ron raises his animals outdoors on well-managed pasture and in wooded areas.
“We are strong believers in the idea that pasture-based management is better for the ecosystem and ultimately healthier for the consumer. Our funded project will allow us to expand our breeding herd and improve our ability to meet the growing demand for our value-added pork products,” Simmons said.
The Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma in Miami, OK received a grant to install 120 acres of perimeter fencing to expand and improve quality of pasture for its herd of beef cattle. The project will protect the animals and build pasture health and fertility, as well as help the Tribe take a crucial step towards food sovereignty and self-sustainability.
“Food sovereignty is important to the Peoria Tribe because we are in a food desert location. With COVID-19 taking a huge toll on our Tribal Citizens and community, the Tribe is taking actions to provide locally-raised meat to close the gap between farm to table in a world crisis. This project allows the Peoria Tribe to utilize valuable land and turn it into a positive outcome for many in need while expanding our production figures,” said Brittany Norris, grant writer for Peoria Tribe.
Megan Denton, owner/operator of Able Farms in Portland, OR, received a grant to build mobile poultry tractors and install fencing for her flocks of broiler chickens, laying hens, and turkeys living on pasture.
“Mobility is key here in the Pacific Northwest with the unsteady climate. This project will enable my operation to implement a year round pasture system suitable for poultry while safely and humanely housing my flocks. The birds will have daily access to fresh food and foraging ground, which creates a healthier flock and soil via fertilization for future pastures,” Denton said.
2021 Fund-a-Farmer Grants for farmers seeking or holding animal welfare certification:
- B Plus Ranch-Livestock in Kamuela, HI, $2,500
- Bijou Land & Cattle in Wiggins, CO, $2,500
- Black Tansy Farm in Springfield, OR, $2,498
- Blue Pepper Farm LLC in Jay, NY, $2,500
- BOTL Farm in Ashford, CT, $2,500
- Downey Ranch in Moorcroft, WY, $2,500
- Goat Money Farm in Deland, FL, $2,500
- Local Color Farm & Fiber in Puyallup, WA, $2,500 Dd
- Master Blend Family Farms in Kenansville, NC, $1,000
- Modern Heritage Farm in Gandeeville, WV $2,500
- North Country Creamery in Keeseville, NY, $2,500
- Ponderosa Ranch in Jacksonville, TX, $2,500
- Red Bird Acres in Corvallis, OR, $2,200
- Red Boat Farm in Fort Payne, AL, $2,000
- Red Ledge Farm in North Franklin, CT, $2,500
- Sweet Seasons Farm in Valley Head, AL, $2,100
- The Flock Farm in Anna, IL, $2,500
- Three Brothers Farm, Oconomowoc, WI, $2,500
- Verdant Hollow Farms in Buchanan, MI, $2,500
2021 Fund-a-Farmer Grants for pasture improvement projects:
- 360 Heritage Farms in Remsen, IA, $2,500
- Able Farms in Portland, OR, $2,500
- Apis Farms in West Point, IA, $2,500
- BarWD Ranch in Wellfleet, NE, $2,500
- Bedrock Farm in St. Albans, VT, $1,825
- Chaney Hill Farm in Dunstable, MA, $2,399.50
- Cherokee Valley Bison Ranch in Thornville, OH, $2,192
- Clarkridge Farm in Goffstown, NH, $1,633
- Cloverbud Ranch in Portsmouth, RI, $1,137.50
- E & F Farm in Safford, AL, $2,500
- Fallen Aspen Farm in Volant, PA, $2,140
- Greenlite Apiary in Alpine, AL, $2,500
- Halal-N-Tayyib Farms in Macon, GA, $2,500
- High Hog Farm in Grayson, GA, $2,500
- Knight Family Farm in Garland, ME, $2,500
- Kyle Rustic Farm in Philadelphia, TN, $2,500
- Lee Hemp Farm in Burlington, WI, $1,700
- Martin Woods Farm in Starks, ME, $2,210
- McLeod’s Flying Bull Bison Ranch in Big Timber, MT, $2,500
- Melanated Farmacy in Woodleaf, NC, $2,500
- Muse 3 Farm LLC in Greensburg, LA, $2,500
- Padilla Ranch in Vernon, TX, $2,500
- Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma in Miami, OK, $2,500
- Prairie Farmstead in Sherman, TX, $2,239
- Purpose Driven Family Farm, Parkton, NC, $2,500
- RanchitoAlegre in Ignacio, CO, $2,500
- Red Rooster Farm in Booneville, AR, $2,500
- Running Wild Farm in New Portland, ME, $2,500
- SEJ Farm in Thermopolis, WY, $2,500
- Sorensen Ranch in Bradford, AR, $2,500
- Southern Shepherd Farms Inc. in Efland, NC, $2,500
- Spring Rise Dairy in Verndale, MN, $1,000
- Squier Family Farm in Tinmouth, VT, $2,500
- Sutton Farms in Butler, PA $2,500
- Tanque Ranch LLC in Safford, AZ, $2,500
- Triple P Angus Farm in Mt. Olivet, KY, $2,500
- Willow Way Farm in Kerrick, MN, $2,500
A summary of each of the funded projects is available at foodanimalconcernstrust.org/funded-projects.
For more information on FACT’s Fund-a-Farmer Grants and the other services we provide to family farmers, please visit foodanimalconcernstrust.org/farmer/. In addition to the grants, FACT also offers free webinars, conference scholarships, and a mentorship program for livestock and poultry farmers who wish to improve the welfare of their farm animals. Please contact Larissa McKenna, Humane Farming Program Director, at (773) 525-4952 or firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about any of FACT’s farmer services.
— Food Animal Concerns Trust
For more articles on animal welfare, click here.