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USDA supports training and development for beginning farmers and ranchers

By Staff | Jan 22, 2015


U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden last week announced the availability of more than $18 million in funding to help educate, mentor and enhance the sustainability of the next generation of farmers.

This support is available through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) administered by USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Winning awards from last year’s application cycle will be announced in the near future.

“The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program is critical for cultivating the next generation of farmers and ranchers, who will be integral to sustaining America’s agricultural future,” said Harden.

“Leading community and service organizations are on the front lines when it comes to identifying and training new farmers and ranchers. Strong partnerships with these groups are the key to our success.”

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program awards grants to organizations implementing programs to train beginning farmers and ranchers, including workshops, educational teams, training and technical assistance throughout the United States.

Fiscal Year 2015 applications for BFRDP are due March 13, 2015. Eligible applicants are collaborative, state, tribal, local or regionally-based networks or partnerships of public or private entities. They include community-based and nongovernmental organizations; colleges or universities (including institutions awarding associate degrees); or any other appropriate organization providing services to beginning farmers and ranchers.

At least 5 percent of the funds must go to projects that serve military veteran beginning farmers and ranchers, and at least 5 percent to projects that serve socially-disadvantaged, limited resource or farm worker audiences. All applicants are required to provide funds or in-kind support from non-federal sources in an amount that is at least equal to 25 percent of the federal funds requested.

NIFA will host a webinar for interested applicants on Wednesday, Feb. 11, from 2 to 4 p.m. EST. No password or advance reservation is required. A recording will be posted on the NIFA website shortly after the event.

From 2009-12, 145 awards were made for more than $71 million through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.

Additional information about USDA support for new farmers and ranchers is available at www.usda.gov /newfarmers.

Funding for the BFRDP program is authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America.

Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people’s daily lives and the nation’s future.