The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has opened the application period for the first phase of its North Carolina Swine and Dairy Assistance program
. The $30 million in federal COVID funds appropriated by the N.C. General Assembly will offer assistance for eligible swine and dairy producers for losses incurred from termination of contracts or ceased milk production due to the pandemic.
“A significant number of swine farms have lost contracts and dairies have been forced out of business due to the pandemic. It has been a rough time for many farmers,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “The application process will take place in two phases. Phase 1, which determines program eligibility, is underway now. Eligible applicants will receive a one-time assistance payment of $31,500 in Phase 1. This first phase is meant to provide funds quickly to farmers so bills can be paid. If you are a farmer and this program applies to you then get your application in as soon as possible.”
Phase 2 will focus on infrastructure modifications to barns, hog houses and/or lagoons. More details on Phase 2 will be released in early February.
The grant application and required forms can be downloaded from the NCDA&CS website at www.ncagr.gov.
For questions about the program in general, call 866-747-9823. Applicants may also reach out to their local cooperative extension, Farm Service Agency or N.C. Farm Bureau offices for application support.
To be considered eligible for payment, swine producers would have to have a contract termination letter from their integrator or other documentation of contract termination between March 1, 2020, and June 30, 2022. NCDA&CS will also require a copy of the current NC DEQ Certificate of Coverage and a W-9 for the individual or company who is applying for the payment. (Note: a producer whose contract was dropped because the integrator picked up a producer who was dropped from a closed company would also be eligible.)
The first round should open on December 15, 2021. This round will award a one-time financial assistance relief payment of $31,500 to each eligible applicant (see paragraph 2). This is a first-come, first-serve program, but with the amount of money allotted to this program, producers do not need to feel under time constraint to apply.
NCDA&CS will also offer financial assistance producers who wish to close out a lagoon or need funds to make barn renovations to receive another contract.
Lagoon closure - If a producer wishes to cease swine production and close the lagoon, he/she can apply for cost share dollars up to 90% of the lagoon closure cost, not to exceed $100,000 per operation.
Convert lagoon - If the applicant demonstrates a need for additional water supply for agricultural uses, then the applicant may request an additional cost share to convert the decommissioned lagoon to an agricultural water supply pond. These cost shares shall be limited to 90% of the actual cost, not to exceed $30,000 per operation.
Animal Housing Upgrades/Conversion - If a producer can secure a production contract with another integrator but must invest in upgrades to existing barns or completely rebuild animal housing to receive the contract, funding is available. The maximum award for renovations $10 per head space for renovations or $20 per head space for rebuilt animal housing, up to 90% of the actual cost of the renovation or construction. To receive this funding, the producer will have to show proof of a new contract or letter of intent with a swine integrator.
Note: this funding is available to a buyer of a farm, as long as the seller met the eligibility requirements on the date of sale.
Additional information about the program, including a link to apply for the assistance can be found here