Animal Welfare Approved’s annual Good Husbandry Grants program has launched and is now accepting project proposals aimed at improving farm animal welfare. Grants up to $5,000 are available to farmers already in the Animal Welfare Approved program and to farmers that have submitted an application. Grant applications must be submitted by October 1, 2013.
 
The Good Husbandry Grants program is in its sixth year and has funded over one hundred projects in the U.S. and Canada to improve farm animal welfare. Past projects included mobile housing, breeding stock, and on-farm processing equipment. Slaughter plants working with or seeking to work with AWA farmers are also eligible for funding. The program is ideal for established farmers interested in implementing new farming practices.
 
"The grants program is great for that farmer who has a creative idea for improving farm viability, but might just be a few dollars short. We believe that supporting our farmers and the implementation of the latest sustainable practices is crucial to the development of agriculture," says Program Director Andrew Gunther.  
 
The 2013-2014 funding priorities include welfare improvements in the slaughter process, improved genetics, increased outdoor access, and non-lethal predator control. A primary goal of the program is to facilitate the growth and success of high-welfare, pasture-based systems by providing nontraditional funding resources. Gunther says, "Consumers are increasingly demanding high-welfare, sustainable products. We’re working to help our farmers meet that demand and access new markets as this sector grows."  
 
True and Essential Meats, a slaughter plant in Harrisonburg, Va. was awarded a Good Husbandry Grant last year. Owner Joe Cloud says, "This grant gave us just the edge we needed to improve our facility, which is dedicated to processing services for independent family farms."
 
"These grants are an invaluable tool for small farmers and ranchers in improving the sustainability of their agricultural operations. Without this support it would not be possible for many of us to afford the costs to improve the welfare of our animals. By funding these grants, AWA enables the farmer to improve the conditions of his operation for the benefit of his animals," says Anthony Koch, a previous grant winner.
 
For more information on past winners and the application process, visit
www.animalwelfareapproved.org/farmers/grants-for-farmers or contact Grants Coordinator Emily Lancaster at [email protected] or 202-618-4497.