CHICAGO – National non-profit, Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT), whose mission is to ensure that all food-producing animals are raised in a humane and healthy manner, recently awarded Fund-a-Farmer grants totaling more than $170,000 to a diverse group of 60 livestock farmers and ranchers. As a sign of solidarity with the movement to obtain racial equity in agriculture, 45% of the grants were made to farmers who identify as Black, Indigenous or People of Color. First generation farmers received 80% of the grants, a majority of which are women-owned operations.
FACT’s grant since 2012 total 521 for more than $857,000 to farmers across 44 states, directly benefiting an estimated 735,000 animals.
Nineteen of the 60 grants this year went to farmers seeking to attain, or who already hold, one of three animal welfare certifications (Certified Animal Welfare Approved [AWA] by A Greener World, Certified Humane, or Global Animal Partnership [GAP] Animal Welfare Certified), and 41 grants to farmers who wish to improve or expand access to pasture for their animals.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) will again underwrite the grants to farmers pursuing or holding one of the above animal welfare certifications.
"The ASPCA is honored to fund FACT's annual grants for the fifth year in a row to support farmers transitioning to more humane and sustainable systems that improve animal welfare and meet the demand for greater transparency in the marketplace," said Kara Shannon, director of Farm Animal Welfare Policy at the ASPCA. "FACT grantees continue to illustrate the benefits higher-welfare farming has not just for animals, but for farm businesses, local communities and our environment."
A 2022 survey of past grant recipients shows a wide range of long-term benefits. Ninety-eight percent of FACT grant farmers said their FACT-funded projects improved animal welfare, and 88% found the grant improved their farm's financial viability. The survey also found individual farmers reported their FACT-funded projects have increased biodiversity, improved soil fertility, enhanced livestock health and comfort, and reduced stress for both the farmer and their animals.
"After a decade of grantmaking, there is no doubt that our Fund-a-Farmer grants are significantly benefiting farmer livelihood, animal welfare, and environmental health," said Larissa McKenna, FACT's Humane Farming Program Director. "We believe that partnering with – and investing in – humane farmers is one of the best ways to make a difference in the lives of food-producing animals."
For Tim and Delicia Brown of Broadview Farm and Gardens in Marengo, Ill., the grant will provide $3,000 for the purchase of fencing and mobile housing to expand their flock of pastured broiler chickens.
"The project will benefit the birds by providing a high-quality forage tailored to their needs. It will also increase the health of the soil, by improving soil structure, and increasing the cycling of nutrients," Tim Brown said.
A complete list and description of all funded projects can be found on the FACT website.