Eight Oaks, PA Veteran Farming Network Launch Grant Program

Veteran farmers focused on conservation can now take advantage of a new funding opportunity.

Eight Oaks Farm Distillery in New Tripoli, Pennsylvania, is collaborating with PA Veteran Farming Network to make four $1,000 grants available to honorably discharged veterans who farm in Pennsylvania. Funds will be used to reimburse out-of-pocket expenses incurred when installing conservation best management projects through count or federal programming.

Applicants must have completed the following to apply:

  • An Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) from the National Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) or Pennsylvania’s Agriculture Conservation Assistance Program (ACAP) project on their farm between May 1, 2023, and January 31, 2024.
  • Had out-of-pocket expenses of at least $1,000.

The grant program is a reimbursement grant. The application period opens at 9 a.m. Feb. 12. Applications will be accepted online. Details can be found at https://www.pavetfarms.org/2024-eight-oaks-grant

“Veterans who farm share a passion for feeding their communities, and state and federal conservation programming helps them in their mission to also be good stewards of the land. This grant program will help these family farmers by offsetting some of the cost that goes along with doing the right thing,” said Mimi Thomas-Brooker, executive director of the PA Veteran Farming Network. “We’re grateful to Eight Oaks Farm Distillery and fans of their Veterans Cut bourbon for making this happen.”

Chad Butters, Army veteran and founder and CEO of Eight Oaks Farm Distillery, previously engaged with both the NRCS and the Lehigh County Conservation District for technical assistance and payment incentives to improve the sustainability and water quality, and soil health of his 25-acre farm.

In 2022, Butters installed a high tunnel using NRCS EQIP. In 2023 he was one of the first farmers in his county to benefit from ACAP funding to install a fence, watering system, stream crossing, and other practices supporting regenerative agriculture.

According to Butters, his mission was to, “establish a well-balanced ecosystem that uses a holistic approach and regenerative farming techniques to grow small grains, fruits, vegetables, and raise pasture-fed livestock. That livestock will eventually provide healthy food to our community while improving our soil health and leaving our land better than we found it.”
When talking about why this grant is important to him, Butters said, “We know many beginning farmers that cannot resist the tug of nature that pulls them to farming. We also recognize the relentless challenges on that journey, not the least of which is financing their operation.”
Butters continued, “While there are government programs available, many of them still require large out-of-pocket expenses. We hope that these grants can help meet that demand and help farmers get to the work of farming.
At Eight Oaks Farm Distillery we’re specifically offering these grants to Pennsylvania veterans to show our gratitude for the service of their entire family. We hope this small grant can help kickstart these family farms.”
Applications will open on February 12, 2024, at 9 a.m. and remain open until grant funds are expended. Learn more: https://www.pavetfarms.org/2024-eight-oaks-grant

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