Cover photo for Western North Carolina Agricultural Options Program

Western North Carolina Agricultural Options Program (AgOptions)

North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission

Opens September 1, 2024

Mission of WNC AgOptions: Building sustainable farming communities in our mountain region by providing resources directly to farmers who are diversifying or expanding their operations.

The ultimate goal of WNC AgOptions is to protect mountain farmland by assisting the longevity of farm enterprises and encouraging groups of farmers to solve logistical challenges in the local agricultural system.


Applicants are residents of North Carolina who demonstrate the economic viability of farms in Western North Carolina. Support is provided to individual farmers/farms that are diversifying or expanding their operations to increase farm income and encourage the sustainability of the farm businesses. The farm must be one in which the family holds the financial responsibility, takes the risks, and provides the majority of the management decisions for the farm business. WNC AgOptions awards grants to a variety of farm operations, including: fruits & vegetables, livestock, nurseries, agritourism, beekeeping and value-added processing. While agriculture is a varied and diverse industry that can be defined in many ways, WNC AgOptions favors applicants who operate a business and manage land for the purpose of producing crops for harvest and sale. Any funding requests should be for items directly related to the growing and harvesting of crops for sale, including livestock. WNC AgOptions also favors agritourism operations that are for the purpose of inviting the public on farm to increase sales of farm products.


Suitable expenses are those associated with the production and marketing of diversified farm enterprises and agri-tourism endeavors. Examples include, but are not limited to: seeds, fertilizer, plants, amendments, livestock, trainings, advertisements, packaging, fences, signage, facilities, supplies, tools and specialized equipment. Items that cannot be funded by the award include: farmer labor, pre-existing farm debt, and expenses that are dated outside of the grant period.

Funds must be used as stated in the applicant’s proposal. Use of funds inconsistent with the proposal will result in forfeiture of award and repayment of funds.

WNC AgOptions will provide cash awards to projects with budgets that are at least 10% higher than the amount of the award request. An award request of $4,000 would require a project budget of at least $4,400 and a $8,000 award request would require a budget of at least $8,800.

The $6,000 awards are only available for farmers who write a business plan for their project.

Application Instructions

Applicants must contact their Cooperative Extension agents by Oct. 14 to set up an appointment to discuss their projects. Extension agents will remain a resource for farmers throughout the year as they complete their projects.

After discussing the project with an Extension agent, complete the application and submit either by email or regular mail:

** Email Requirements:**

  • All proposal documents, including attachments, must be in PDF format.

  • All sections of application must be submitted; including SECTIONS VI, VII and Letters of Support (scans are acceptable). If awarded, you will need to provide originals before any money is dispersed.

  • Proposal to be in a single PDF file if possible. If file is too big, the attachments can be sent as one document and the application as a separate document.

  • Email application to

  • Please include the words **2023 WNC AgOptions Application ** in the subject line.

Mail or Hand-Delivery Requirements:

If sending a hard copy, a traceable/trackable mailing method is suggested. Mail or Hand Deliver to:

WNC AgOptions Project Coordinator

WNC Communities

594 Brevard Rd.

Asheville, NC 28806


Release Date

September 1, 2024


November 18, 2024

Financial Instrument

Grant, Cost Share

Minimum Award Amount


Maximum Award Amount


Updated July 17, 2024

Image Credit: 1778011

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