Victoria rancher receives $10,000 matching grant through Young Farmer Grant Program

Dec. 27, 2011 at 6:27 a.m.

Victoria County rancher Joseph D. Hagel was one of 15 recipients awarded $10,000 in matching grants through the Young Farmer Grant Program.

The awards, given out by the Texas Agricultural Finance Authority, go out to farmers ages 18 to 46 who will create or expand agricultural business in Texas, according to a Texas Department of Agriculture news release. Hagel's operation deals in livestock.

Farmers throughout the Lone Star State funded the $150,000 through farm vehicle registration fees.

U.S. Department of Agriculture data indicates that principal owners of Texas farms and ranches on average are 59 years old, Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said in the news release. Only 6 percent are younger than 35.

"As today's farmers and ranchers near retirement, we must find ways to support a younger generation that will be tasked with feeding a growing population," he said.

The 81st Texas Legislature approved the department of Agriculture's proposal for the Young Farmer Grant Program in 2009, according to the news release. Since then, the program has offered financial assistance to agriculturists and businesses through partnerships with banks and other lending institutions.



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