FAQ: USDA recently increased funding for its beginning farmer program. Can you tell me more about this program?
Answer: USDA announced on October 8 more than $17 million in grants for organizations that will develop training and provide other resources for beginning farmers and ranchers across the nation. The awards are made through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, which is administered by USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
Program provides support to train beginning farmers
"When new farmers and ranchers start their operations, the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program can help them implement tested strategies and new ideas that in turn benefit all of us by reducing food insecurity, growing economic opportunities, and building communities," says Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden. "Today, we are partnering with organizations that recognize that an investment in our beginning farmers and ranchers is also an investment in our future."
The Beginning Farmer & Rancher Development Program was first established by the 2008 Farm Bill and continued in the 2014 Farm Bill. The program provides support to those who've farmed or ranched for less than 10 years. NIFA awards grants to organizations that implement programs to train beginning farmers and ranchers, which may take place through workshops, educational teams, training or technical assistance.
How is money being divided up among recipients?
The 2014 Farm Bill mandated that at least 5% of BFRDP funding must support veterans and socially disadvantaged farmers. This year, more than 15% of the funded projects have a substantial component that supports veterans and farming, while about 50% of the projects focus mainly on socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
Since 2009, 184 awards have been made for more than $90 million through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. These awards are part of USDA's deep commitment to empowering beginning farmers and ranchers across America. Click here
Fiscal year 2015 grants to see the list of organizations receiving these latest grants and the amounts they are getting.
NIFA expects to make two additional awards this fiscal year by December 2015. Information on past awards can be found on the NIFA website.
More information about USDA support for new farmers and ranchers is available on the New Farmers page on the USDA website.
NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and Extension and seeks to make transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. To learn more about NIFA's impact on agricultural science, visit nifa.usda.gov/impacts or follow us on Twitter @usda_nifa using hashtag #NIFAImpacts.