OSU Seeks Proposals for Ag Economic Development Grants

Ohio communities seeking to promote the viability of local farms and agricultural economic development are encouraged to apply for grant funding from Ohio State University’s Center for Farmland Policy Innovation.

Proposals are due by Sept. 24, 2010. The center expects to disburse $50,000 for two or three innovative projects that promote community-based agricultural economic development priorities in local communities, said Jill Clark, the center’s director. In addition, the center also expects to disperse a total of $10,000 for two or three smaller planning grants. These grants focus on community-based agricultural economic development specifically through the community planning process, including creating or revising a community plan to address local agricultural needs and facilitate solutions.

Community-based agricultural development involves community planning, organizing and acting to enhance the health of a community through viable local agriculture. It is a collaborative local effort to retain and grow the benefits of food and agriculture, and to advance sustainable farming. Done successfully, its implementation should yield economic, social and environmental benefits for communities, Clark said.

“We are excited to focus on economic development in a truly local industry,” Clark said. “Farming is not only a foundation of so many of Ohio’s communities, but contributes to the quality of life for all Ohioans.”

Primary applicants for funding, available through the center’s Farmland Protection Partnership Program, must be a governmental or administrative entity in an Ohio county, township, municipality, or non-profit organization.

Proposals for projects must include a minimum local match of 50 percent, with at least 25 percent in the form of a direct cash match. Proposals for the smaller community planning grants must include a minimum 25 percent local match, either in cash or in-kind.

“Overall, we have three goals for this program,” Clark said. “We want to see successful local projects in Ohio, we want to see innovative programs implemented so localities have examples in Ohio they can follow, and we want to build the capacity of communities to protect farmland and create an environment where local farms can thrive. In the end, we want to help make sure Ohio’s No. 1 industry — farming — remains viable and locally relevant.”

Clark encourages applicants to contact the center for assistance in developing proposals and project budgets. For additional information or for a copy of the Request for Proposals, contact Clark at 614-247-6479 or clark.1099@osu.edu, or see the center’s website at http://cffpi.osu.edu.

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