FACT’s Conference Scholarship Program for Livestock & Poultry Farmers

As funding allows, in 2017 FACT (Food Animal Concern Trust) will award scholarships for livestock and poultry farmers to attend selected sustainable agriculture or humane farming conferences in order to learn humane animal husbandry methods. Scholarship funds are currently available to cover registration expenses to the following upcoming conferences this winter:

  1. The Vermont Grazing and Livestock Conference, January 20-21, 2017 in Fairlee, VT (Scholarships are no longer available for this conference)
  2. Southern SAWG Conference, January 25-28, 2017 in Lexington, KY (Scholarships are no longer available for this conference)
  3. MOSES Organic Farming Conference, February 23-25, 2017 in La Crosse, WI (Scholarships are no longer available for this conference)

Additional conferences will be announced later in the year.

How do I apply? Farmers seeking a scholarship should complete FACT’s scholarship application requesting funds to reimburse registration fees. We will review your application for eligibility. If accepted, we will ask you to provide proof of conference registration in the form of your registration email or credit card receipt with 24 hours of acceptance. Once we have your proof of registration, we will issue you a check to reimburse registration fees. Scholarships are awarded on a first come, first served basis.

Who is eligible for a scholarship? Current livestock and poultry farmers who express an intention to learn about humane animal husbandry methods at a sustainable agriculture conference are eligible. Farmers must own or be employed by a farm that raises livestock and/or poultry in the United States.

Who is not eligible for a scholarship? Farmers who already received a scholarship in 2015 or 2016 are also not eligible for a scholarship in 2017 due to limited funds. Also, please note that we can only accept one scholarship application per farm/household.

Which conferences are covered by the scholarships? We are currently only accepting applications for scholarships to the three conferences listed above. We will add other conferences as scholarships become available to them. Please keep in mind this list may change from year to year and is dependent on available funding. Conferences not on the list above will not be considered for funding at this time.

How large are the scholarships and what do they cover? FACT will reimburse up to $400 for expenses associated with conference registration fees. FACT will not reimburse for conference meals, lodging, transportation, membership fees, or pre-conference workshops that are not related to livestock or poultry production.

How will decisions be made? Scholarships will be awarded on a first come, first served basis to eligible farmers for one of the conferences listed above until funding is depleted.

What expectations are there for scholarship recipients at the conference? All scholarship recipients are expected to attend at least two workshops or panels related directly to humane animal husbandry. FACT expects that many scholarship recipients will attend more than two as the main purpose of these scholarships is to enable farmers to learn humane animal husbandry methods.

What expectations are there for scholarship recipients after the conference? After attending the conference, scholarship recipients will be required to (1) submit at least 3 color photos of the conference, your farm, and farm animals, and (2) complete a short report form regarding what you learned at the conference. Reports and photos are due within 14 days of the end of the conference.

Scholarship recipients will also be automatically added to our online Humane Farming Forum and monthly Fund-a-Farmer email list. FACT will also follow up with scholarship recipients to see if they have implemented methods learned at the conference on their farms. Farmers who do not attend the relevant workshops or who do not submit their required reporting materials on time will be barred from applying for future funding from FACT.

What happens if I receive a scholarship, but can’t attend the conference? If a scholarship recipient does not attend the conference for which they received a scholarship, all scholarship funds must immediately be returned to FACT in the form of a check. Please note, FACT coordinates with conference organizers to verify attendance. Farmers who do not comply with this requirement will be barred from applying for future funding from FACT.

What else does FACT do for farmers? FACT works to broaden opportunities for humane farmers in the United States. Our Fund-a-Farmer grants enable livestock and poultry farmers to transition to or increase access to pasture on their farms. Our Fund-a-Farmer scholarships enable livestock farmers who wish to learn about humane farming methods to attend a sustainable agriculture conference. We also offer free webinars and an online Humane Farming Forum to facilitate networking, sharing of opportunities, and peer-to-peer education for humane poultry and livestock farmers.

Photo courtesy of Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES).