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Haydee Borrero of Sheepy Hollow LLC in Ithaca, New York, uses the funds to help manage her flock of American Romney sheep. Photo: Business Wire.
Haydee Borrero of Sheepy Hollow LLC in Ithaca, New York, used the funds she got to help manage her flock of American Romney sheep. Photo: Business Wire.

Tractor Supply donates $850,000 to American Farmland Trust for National Ag Day 2023

The effort is in honor of AFT's 85th anniversary.

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The Tractor Supply Company Foundation, the charitable arm of The Tractor Supply Company, announced an $850,000 donation to the American Farmland Trust on National Ag Day on March 21. The day dedicated to celebrating the bounty provided by American agriculture.

The donation, which will support AFT's Brighter Future Fund, creates 85 grants of $10,000 each to help farmers improve agricultural viability, access, transfer or permanently protect farmland, and adopt regenerative production practices.

“AFT is grateful for Tractor Supply’s generous gift and the significant impact these funds will have for awardees. Our nation’s farmers and ranchers work hard and face daily obstacles related to weather, changing economic forces, and the rising costs of land and inputs. AFT just reached $5 million in grants awarded to farmers and ranchers to advance our mission to protect farmland, promote sound farming practices and keep farmers on the land,” said John Piotti, AFT president and CEO.

Applicants for the grants, which will be awarded to those who have historically been underserved or lack access to traditional methods of financing, may include one or more individual farmers or farm families. Applications open on July 1.

Empowering farmers

The $850,000 donation is Tractor Supply's largest gift to AFT to date, a collaboration that began through the Farmer Relief Fund created in 2020, at the start of the pandemic.

“AFT’s grants help drive new solutions for resolving key challenges facing our society by increasing the resilience of farms to climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening local food systems, creating greater equity in opportunities for underserved farmers, ensuring the availability of sufficient clean water and habitat for threatened wildlife, and improving farm viability and community vitality,” added Piotti.

Tractor Supply also made donations to AFT's Brighter Future Fund in 2021 and 2022.

Comprehensive support

Since 2020, AFT has awarded grants to farmers and ranchers in 49 states and Puerto Rico. Past Brighter Future Fund recipients include:

  • Rebecca Stimpert of Heartland Farm in Bucklin, Kansas, whose family raises cucumbers, summer squash, beets, beans, tomatoes and okra to make and sell 15 kinds of pickles. Those sales finance the Farm Service Agency loan used to purchase their farmland, which had been in her husband’s family for generations. Additional funding will help replace inefficient and outdated fertilization and irrigation systems and support the purchase of new farming equipment.
  • Haydee Borrero of Sheepy Hollow LLC in Ithaca, New York, who runs a mixed-use farm as the sole full-time worker. Brighter Future Fund support allowed Haydee to purchase a handling system to conduct routine health checks and treatment protocols for her flock of American Romney sheep. These sheep can grow to be more than 220 pounds, making them unwieldy to manage. The handling system will help make the farm a safer workplace and a more efficient livestock producer.
  • Rafael Vencio of AmBoy Urban Collective LLC in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who farms a quarter acre of land at Hilltop Urban Farm Incubator as part of a four-year tenure. He is working on growing Asian cultivars and heirloom varieties to introduce Filipino cuisine to the community. Rafael plans to use the funds for capital costs to maintain the soil and install drip irrigation and fencing. He will also use it toward transaction costs in securing the lease for the year.

“This donation is an expression of gratitude to our customers and the communities we call home. It is also critical to fulfilling our duty as responsible stewards of the environment as America’s farmers play a key role in helping protect our natural resources. We’re honored to contribute to AFT’s important work, ensuring that future generations can live Life Out Here,” said Hal Lawton, president and CEO of Tractor Supply.

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