Turning over a new leaf: Tobacco growers eye livestock grant

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HILLSBORO, Ohio – Ohio tobacco growers getting squeezed out of markets have an opportunity to shift gears into or expand existing livestock production.

The Southern Ohio Agricultural and Community Development Foundation is offering providing grants of up to $2,500 for capital improvements such as new fencing or livestock handling facilities.

The foundation was formed last year with monies from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. The Livestock Systems Project – the first of four pilot programs designed to help Ohio’s tobacco farmers offset losses – is now accepting applications.

“There are 19 southern Ohio counties that produce tobacco, and in just one year, from 1999 to 2000, tobacco production dropped from 17 million to 13 million pounds,” said Don Branson, executive director of the foundation.

Grant information. Grant recipients in the Livestock Systems Project will be reimbursed for up to 75 percent of a project’s cost, including labor and materials, up to $2,500 per recipient. Priority will first be given to tobacco growers, followed by quota owners.

Livestock Systems Project descriptions, grant guidelines, and applications are available through Jan. 15, 2002, at county OSU Extension offices and Farm Service Agency offices of the major tobacco-producing counties.

Applications may also be obtained directly from the foundation office at 100 S. High St., Hillsboro, or by calling the office at 937-393-2700.

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