Texas’ agriculture commissioner has awarded farmer-funded grants to some young Texas farmers.

The grants given out to 16 younger farmers and ranchers across the Lone Star State total $150,000.

The Young Farmer Grant Program is funded entirely by Texas farmers and ranchers,  offers effective financing options to help establish new farmers and ranchers, and does not use any state tax revenue, according to Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples.

The grants are awarded in amounts up to $10,000 each, and the funds are available to agricultural producers between the ages of 18 and 45 to create and expand agriculture in Texas.

Applicants must be able to make dollar-for-dollar matching expenditures to sustain, create, or enhance agricultural operations.

“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,” said Staples. “According to USDA, the average age of Texas farmers and ranchers is 59, with only 6 percent of them under the age of 35.”

There are two rounds of grant awards each year, and the deadline for the next round of Young Farmer Grants is September 7th, 2012.

For more on these grants, visit www.TexasAgriculture.gov.