Yadkin County is a step closer to its goal of an agricultural center and conference room.
The county received a $100,000 grant from the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission to help with the construction of the center.
According to its Web site, the Tobacco Trust Fund Commission was created by the General Assembly in 2000 to help soften the financial impact to farmers and tobacco-related businesses caused by the sharp decline of tobacco in the agricultural economy.
The Web site states, the commission’s funding from a set appropriation of monies paid by cigarette manufacturers under the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement to the state. Since 2002 the commission has awarded grants to public and nonprofit agencies that meet the goals of strengthening the rural and tobacco-dependent economies of North Carolina.
This year the commission announced just over $2 million for a total of 19 grants relating to agricultural and economic projects across the state. Yadkin County applied for the grant to help towards building the agricultural center and conference room.
The county applied for $355,000 and was awarded $100,000.
“It gets us closer to the goal of building the center using the least amount of county tax dollars as possible,” said Aaron Church, county manager. “Pending the contract it certainly gets us closer to where we need to be to move forward.”
Church said that the county has also applied for grants with The Golden Leaf Foundation.
“We were turned down the first time around but I met with Golden Leaf representatives and discussed how we could strengthen our application before the deadline on Nov. 1,” Church said. “We’ve also talked to the USDA but they had already spent their community building project money for the year so that’s something we’ll have to follow up on next year.”
Church said that the community college has started a soft capital campaign and that this campaign will probably gain momentum if construction for the project is voted on by commissioners in the future.
Church said that it is unclear if any progress will begin if the Tobacco Trust Fund Commission grant is contracted. He said that the commissioners will need to review the contract and allow him to sign on before the money with be at the county’s disposal and that he will need to meet with the commission’s representatives to learn what exactly the money can be used towards.
“We’re very grateful for this grant,” Church said. “It’s a tough environment for grants. Getting a grant to build a building in this economic environment is very, very difficult. We didn’t hire professional grant writers to get this grant. The grant was written by the county staff and commissioners. A lot of farmer’s read and reviewed our application to help us include what we needed to get this money.”
If the agricultural center comes to fruition the plans are to build it on land behind the Surry Community College Yadkin Center. The agricultural center will feature a 300-person conference room, a smaller conference room, office space for agriculture departments for the county, state and federal levels and classroom space for the Yadkin Early College and Surry Community College. The site will also feather a commercial kitchen and a school cafeteria.
The center will house offices for Foreign Agricultural Services, a subdivision of the USDA, Yadkin County Soil and Water, Natural Resources Conservation Service and NC State University’s Cooperative Extension offices.
These offices are currently located in an older building on Elm Street in Yadkinville. Once the center is built and these offices are moved the county must make some necessary renovations to the old building and other offices will be moved there.
The Yadkin County Farm Bureau has already given a commitment of $50,000 towards the project, the Yadkin County Dairy and Livestock Association has given a written commitment of $28,000, and the Yadkin County Extension and Community Association has designated $5,000 for the center.
The center is slated to cost approximately $4 million.
Reach Lindsay Craven at 679-2341 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.