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County farmers get $334,513 in grants

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By Steve Doyle

Shelby County farmers can expect to get some help from the state’s County Agriculture Investment Program again this year, and the money might even go a little farther than in the past.

The Shelby County Agriculture Development Board was approved Friday by the state for a $334,513 grant this year, about $75,000 more than in past years.

This means that once again just about any farmer in the county can apply for a grant to help subsidize production – for both this year and – now – years beyond.

Farmers formerly could apply for $5,000 grants in specific segments of the program, with a $15,000 lifetime cap. But now they can apply for $7,500 and use that money in a variety of programs. And there is no lifetime cap.

This is the sixth consecutive year Shelby County has received a grant, and Shelby County Extension Agent Tammy Brookshier said she expects the program will serve about as many farmers this year as it did last year.

“We expect to have about two hundred and fifty to three hundred applicants in the county,” she said. “And we hope to fulfill all the applications.”

There is no date set yet for when applications can be received, but Brookshier said she hoped to receive soon the legal clearance from the state. The application would follow immediately with public advertising in The Sentinel-News to alert farmers.

 “Our community is pleased with the Agricultural Development board’s commitment to the Shelby County Cattlemen’s Association,” state Rep. Brad Montell (R-Shelbyville) said in a statement. “The diversification of agriculture  throughout the county and the Commonwealth is greatly aided by the dispersal of these funds.”

Almost every farmer in Shelby County is eligible to apply for programs that cover everything from dairy to tobacco to beef cattle to horses to soybeans and beyond. The grants also can be applied to concepts such as energy efficiency and organic farming.

 “This started out as a program with tobacco growers and their families, but now it applies to just about every producer we have,” Brookshier said.

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2009 investment programs

·        AGRICULTURAL DIVERSIFICATION INVESTMENT AREA

·        CATTLE GENETICS IMPROVEMENT

·        CATTLE HANDLING FACILITIES

·        COMMERCIAL POULTRY, DAIRY & SWINE

·        FARM LIVESTOCK FENCING IMPROVEMENT

·        FARM STRUCTURE & COMMODITY HANDLING

·        FORAGE IMPROVEMENT & UTILIZATION

·        GOAT & SHEEP DIVERSIFICATION

·        ON-FARM ENERGY EFFICIENCY & PRODUCTION

·        ON-FARM WATER ENHANCEMENT

·        TECHNOLOGY