ELKHORN – Rachel Catlett of Elkhorn has been awarded $10,000 for her business, Brown Dog Farm, from Tractor Supply and the American Farmland Trust.
Tractor Supply, which bills itself as the largest rural lifestyle retailer, has area locations in Delavan, Burlington, Mukwonago and Harvard, Illinois.
Catlett is a shepherd who uses using regenerative farming practices to raise heritage breed sheep and goats, according to a news release. Her farm is on Kennel Road in Sugar Creek Township.
She plans to use these funds for fencing, barn repairs and animal handling equipment.
This award is part of a nationwide campaign where, in honor of the company’s 85th anniversary, Tractor Supply donated $850,000 to AFT’s Brighter Future Fund, which was created in 2020 to help farmers across the country start, grow and sustain farms in the face of myriad challenges, including COVID-19, severe weather and shifting markets. Launched with initial underwriting from Tillamook County Creamery Association, the program seeks to uplift, support and amplify the work of a wide range of farmers. This year, 85 of the 110 Brighter Future Fund grants were made possible through Tractor Supply’s contribution.
AFT received 1,522 applicants from 48 states during the application period, an all-time high and nearly double the prior year’s applications. Priority was given to applicants who are starting their agricultural pursuits, veterans, socially disadvantaged, women or have limited resources. Funding was allocated for both professional services and equipment or infrastructure costs, with focus areas including improving farm viability, accessing farmland and adopting regenerative agricultural practices.
“Tractor Supply’s 85th anniversary donation to AFT is demonstration of our ongoing commitment to agriculture across the nation,” said Mary Winn Pilkington, president of the Tractor Supply Company Foundation in a news release. “Farmers and farm families are the backbone of our country and the communities we serve. These 85 grant recipients fill us with tremendous optimism about the future of Life Out Here, and we are excited to see how these grants move their farms forward.”
“As the Brighter Future Fund continues to develop and evolve year to year, the level of support and recognition this work receives is remarkable,” said Ashley Brucker, Deputy Director of Agriculture Conservation Innovations at American Farmland Trust. “This year’s record-breaking numbers were made possible not only by the generous contributions of Tractor Supply and other donors, but most importantly by the farmers and landowners who take valuable time to share the stories of their land, their background and their vision for the future. We aim to grow our outreach as long as needed for farmers to continue developing through innovation and commitment to agriculture.”