Botetourt County’s COVID-related grants now available to farms demonstrates that there are few businesses that have not been impacted one way or another by the pandemic. Botetourt farmers have until the end of the month to apply for the $5,000 grants. WFIR’s Evan Jones has more:
NEWS RELEASE: Daleville, VA – At the August 25, 2020, regular meeting, the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors approved the “Botetourt County COVID-19 Farm Operation Grant Program” to assist the County’s farm operations with COVID-19 pandemic-related losses. Grants will be available up to $5,000 per farm operation based primarily in Botetourt County.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly every part of our society, and our local farms have felt that impact, too,” said Board of Supervisors Member Dr. Richard Bailey. “As a County with a strong agricultural heritage, I am proud that the Board is able to support our farmers in this time of need.”
“With an agricultural background, I support the efforts of providing some relief to the farming community who provides backbone services to the world,” said Botetourt County Administrator Gary Larrowe.
The County is allowed to use funds from the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide grants to small businesses “affected by decreased customer demand as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency,” according to the U.S. Treasury’s guidance memo to the County.
In his report to the Board, Director of Economic Development Ken McFadyen said, “Botetourt County’s farm operations are also small businesses and have experienced the effects of decreased customer demand as a result of the pandemic.”
Many Botetourt County-based farm operations have sought federal assistance through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). The local office of the FSA has processed approximately 150 Botetourt County grant applications for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP).
“We are also encouraging any farm operation that has not applied for the Farm Service Agency’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program to apply by the application deadline of September 11th. We want to assist our farmers who are in need of these programs during this difficult time,” said Jean Hazlegrove, County Executive Director for the Botetourt/Craig/Roanoke FSA County Office.
The Botetourt County COVID-19 Farm Operation Grant Program will assist the County’s farm operations with losses not covered by the FSA’s grant program. To fund the program, the Board of Supervisors has appropriated $200,000 of the County’s CARES Act relief funds for this grant program. This appropriation is similar to that for the County’s existing small business grant program put in place earlier this summer.
The Farm Operation Grant applications will be accepted online only during the month of September 2020. Applicants can access the online grant application at www.bocoecondev.info.
Botetourt County-based farm operations qualify for the County’s grant program by first qualifying for the FSA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). Applicants will be asked to submit a copy of their FSA grant “deposit confirmation” or, secondly, a copy of their approved FSA grant application. The dollar amount of the deposit confirmation does not need to be shared with the County.
The County grant is intended to cover farm losses through September 2020 that are not covered by the FSA grant or other COVID-19-related grants. Farm operations must be in compliance with any and all applicable County ordinances.
Applications from Botetourt farm operations will be accepted during the month of September, and once the County determines the number of qualifying farm operations, the amount of the individual grants will be determined.
The Botetourt County Economic Development Authority (EDA) is tasked with administering the grant program. Farms that receive the grant will need to complete a grant agreement with the EDA.
Questions regarding the Botetourt County COVID-19 Farm Operation Grant Program should be directed to the Department of Economic Development by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (540) 928-2140.