The future of the agriculture industry is largely dependent on the next generation of leaders and their ability to overcome the challenges of today’s market. To provide this pivotal cohort of diverse farmers with the educational opportunities and support necessary for success, GreenStone has once again committed up to $40,000 to young, beginning and small farmers through the cooperative’s 2021 Grow Forward Grant program.
“GreenStone’s grant program supports producers interested in gaining more education to prepare themselves to successfully compete in today’s highly competitive global marketplace,” said Dave Armstrong, former GreenStone President and CEO. “Young, beginning and small farmers are vital to the economic health of agriculture and these grants help remove the financial barrier so they can focus on expanding their industry knowledge.”
GreenStone’s Grow Forward Grants provide financial support to offset the cost of educational opportunities. Individuals who qualify as young, beginning or small farmers and reside in Michigan or northeast Wisconsin can use grant dollars toward farm or business consultations, educational courses and seminars, resource-focused events or conferences, and first-time use of GreenStone’s tax and accounting services.
Since launching the Grow Forward Grant program in 2018, individuals have taken advantage of the opportunities this grant provides by participating in a variety of programs. From forestry management, on-farm consultations, and even workshops to educate farmers on effectively communicating with consumers, each grant provides farmers a chance to gain valuable knowledge and personal growth.
John Gallagher, of Gallagher Farms in Cedar, Michigan, utilized the grant in 2019 for a distillation course to learn hands-on about commercial distilling. The course provided him in-depth knowledge on the steps needed to be taken on his five-generation cherry farm to create new value-added products and an additional stream of revenue through distillation.
“I would encourage anyone to take advantage of these opportunities no matter what your business is,” John says. “In order for our farm to continue to the next generation, we know we need to improve and this is just one step in ensuring a successful transition for years to come.”
Again in 2021, GreenStone will be offering up to $40,000 through the Grow Forward Grant program to provide educational and learning opportunities to farmers. To qualify for up to $1,000, applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 35, or farming for less than 10 years, or sustain annual gross sales from agricultural production of less than $250,000, in addition to residing in GreenStone’s territory. Both GreenStone members and non-members who qualify are encouraged to apply.
For complete guidelines and the application, visit
To view the article in the online 2021 Spring Partners Magazine, click here.