Golden LEAF focuses on agriculture projects 

Golden LEAF focuses on agriculture projects 

July 20, 2023

Golden LEAF supports agriculture projects as an economic development engine. Funding for agriculture projects have supported the development of new crops, expanded markets for agriculture products, scientific research, training for farmers, cost-effective techniques and value-added agricultural enterprises.

Outcomes measured under this priority area include:

  •         Number of participants at agricultural trainings
  •         New publications directed towards farmers
  •         Monthly use of agricultural facilities that benefit farmers

Under the Agriculture Priority Area, Golden LEAF measures other outcomes including: jobs, revenue growth, new agricultural business formations, economic output, changes in agricultural practices; acres in production; new crops/products grown or produced; and other measures of agriculture projects.

Learn about some of the recently awarded agriculture projects supported by Golden LEAF serving Ashe, Bladen, Columbus, Duplin, Onslow, Robeson, Sampson, and Wayne counties, as well as a statewide project, below:

In April 2023, the Golden LEAF Board of Directors awarded $500,000 to the University of Mount Olive for design and infrastructure costs to support development of a new livestock/forage training facility that will enable expanded content and experiential learning, and additional credentials offered to prepare more students for entry-level and higher positions at regional ag businesses. The facility will also serve as a research and training site for students and faculty, host training opportunities for farmers and events for high school students and expose high school students to agriculture related career pathways.

In February 2023, the Golden LEAF Board awarded two agriculture projects:

  • $250,000 to Feast Down East, Inc. located in New Hanover and Pender counties for partial vehicle costs, refrigeration and other equipment, renovations, and related costs to expand cold storage and distribution facilities that would increase regional farmer services and outreach into Bladen, Columbus, Duplin, Onslow, Robeson, and Sampson counties from locations in New Hanover and Pender counties.
  • $199,997 to North Carolina State University to implement position-specific, food safety training programs targeting small- and medium-sized food manufacturing and processing business in rural N.C.

In December 2022, the Golden LEAF Board awarded $500,000 to Ashe County to support construction costs for a multi-purpose agricultural center that will provide a space for area cattle farmers to aggregate and market their livestock locally in a manner that would attract large buyers and increase opportunities to gain premium pricing.

These projects were awarded through the Open Grants Program. To learn more about the Open Grants Program, visit

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