The County Agriculture Investment Program this year has three different grant offerings, aimed at three different groups of people.

The first grant program is A Youth Agricultural Incentives program, and is aimed at 4-H and FFA youth who are at least 9 years of age by Jan. 1, 2020, and are in either elementary, middle, high, or home school.

Investment areas include:

• Agricultural Diversification – greenhouse, horticulture, hydroponics and aquaponics, computer software, value-added marketing, wildlife management, beef, dairy, goat, equine, sheep, rabbit, swine, poultry, bees, livestock barns, forage and grain improvement, showmanship, supervised agriculture experience, and country ham projects.

Youth program is 50/50 cost share, up to $1,500. App­li­cations are available at the Har­din County Extension Office, 111 Opportunity Way, Eliza­beth­town. Application period is Sept. 24, through Oct. 15, 2020. Project completion deadline is Jan. 8, 2021.

• A Next-Generation Farmer Program – Application availability, application period, and project completion deadline the same as youth program listed immediately above.

The NexGen guidelines were developed to address the growing need for a specialized program that would benefit producers ages 18 to 40 that have been engaged in an agricultural operation for a minimum of three years. Eligible producers may receive up to $5,000 per program year. Applicant shall have engaged in an agricultural operation, as an owner or tenant, or employee for at least 3 years.

Applicant shall provide a copy of their schedule for the most recent three years in operation or a letter from the farm owner/employer for each year working in an agricultural operation to meet program eligibility. And a three year business plan is required. Eligible investments include: agriculture diversification, large and small animal, farm infrastructure, fencing and on-farm water, forage and grain improvement, innovative agricultural systems, on-farm energy, poultry and other fowl, technology and leadership development, value added and marketing.

Regular CAIP, has not yet been approved by the state agriculture development board in Frankfort, but should be approved this month. Those applications will be available at a later date. Only CAIP programs available at this time are youth and NexGen grant programs.

Funding for all the CAIP programs is provided by the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund, and is being administered locally by the Hardin County Extension District Board.

Doug Shepherd is an County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources. Shepherd can be reached at 270-765-4121 or hardin.ca.uky.edu.