WASHINGTON — USDA announced 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).
“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,” said USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden. “Today, we are partnering with organizations who recognize that an investment in our beginning farmers and ranchers is also an investment in our future.”
The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program was first established by the 2008 Farm Bill and was continued in the 2014 Farm Bill. The program provides support to those who have farmed or ranched for less than 10 years. NIFA awards grants to organizations throughout the U.S. that implement programs to train beginning farmers and ranchers, which may take place through workshops, educational teams, training, or technical assistance.
The 2014 Farm Bill mandated that at least 5 percent of BFRDP funding must support veterans and socially disadvantaged farmers. This year, 10 percent of the funding supports veterans and farming, while about 50 percent of the funding will serve 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.
More information about USDA support for new farmers and ranchers is available on the New Farmers page on the USDA website.