Davie farmers awarded grants

Published 8:12 am Thursday, March 23, 2023

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Three Davie farmers have been awarded grants aimed at supporting family farms.

Helene Dooley, John Weatherman and Rachael Koren were among 68 individual growers earning grants of between $1,000 and $8,000 from NC AgVentures.

The competitive grants – administered by the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service, with funding through the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission – are awarded to innovative projects aimed at diversifying, expanding or implementing new entrepreneurial plans for farm operations.

Helene Dooley developed her love of sheep when she was 5 and watched sheep being shown at the Dixie Classic Fair. She and her husband established Skybrooke Farm in 2019 where they raise registered sheep and alpaca for wool.

Dooley received funds to acquire a sheep handling system to improve safety and efficiency.

The Weatherman family raised tobacco for 78 years until the industry started to decline. Today they raise registered Angus beef. Weatherman was awarded a grant to streamline cattle feeding process and implement high efficiency safety standards.

The Koren farm raises alpacas, summer produce, pumpkins and Christmas trees. Koren received funds to transition 5 acres into orchards and produce fields.

NC AgVentures also awarded a community grant to Davie Soil and Water Conservation District to purchase livestock scales and corral panels to assist livestock producers work their livestock more efficiently and safely.