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Young farmer grant deadline extended

Grant extended to further assist eligible young producers impacted by the devasting wildfires in the Texas Panhandle.

Farm Press Staff

April 11, 2024

2 Min Read
Matt and Bronwyn Huff
Matt and Bronwyn Huff review disaster aid materials following the Smokehouse Creek Fire. The application deadline for the Young Farmer Grant Program has been extended to help producers impacted by the state's largest wildfire in Texas history. Shelley E. Huguley

The application deadline for the Young Farmer Grant Program has been extended through April 17, 2024, in an effort to provide additional support to young farmers impacted by the recent Texas Panhandle wildfires.

In February, the Smokehouse Creek Fire, the largest recorded fire in Texas history, claimed an estimated 1,059,570 acres in Texas and Oklahoma. Replacing the miles of lost fencing will be a major expense.

"A person who had something damaged by the fire might be able to apply for the new farmer grant for their operation," Maddison Jaureguiot, TDA director of communications, said in a recent email.

The grant, in addition to the State of Texas Agriculture Relief (STAR) Fund, is aimed at farmers interested in enhancing their operations through expansion, better land management, increased technology utilization, or other improvements. Examples of previous projects include expanding and improving traditional cattle, pork, and sheep operations, diversifying poultry lines, and starting new floral and food processing businesses.

“The Texas Department of Agriculture supports production agriculture, whether it involves hooves, feathers, or flowers,” said Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller. “As the average age of our Texas farmers and ranchers continues to increase, we are determined to do all we can to nurture a rising generation of agricultural producers coming up in a challenging economic environment.”

Related:Texas Panhandle: After the wildfires

According to USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service’s Ag Census data, one-third of the United States’ 3.4 million farmers are over 65. In Texas, nearly 40% of producers are nearing retirement age.

The Young Farmer Grant program awards can significantly help with starting or improving a ranching or farming operation. Awards can be used to purchase livestock and small equipment, land and equipment leasing costs, and hiring and training expenses, among other expenditures. Applicants must be able to provide dollar-for-dollar matching funds.

“Supporting the next generation of farmers and ranchers is vital to future prosperity in Texas,” Commissioner Miller said. “These grants will put young producers on the path to success and make sure Texas agriculture remains a robust economic engine.”

For more information about the program, click here.

For more information on wildfire disaster relief, please click here.

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