The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it was making available $18 million in funds to “educate, mentor and enhance the sustainability of the next generation” of farmers. Support is provided through the Beginning Farmers and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) that was in the 2014 farm bill.
Under Secretary of Agriculture Krysta Harden said the program “is critical for cultivating the next generation of farmers and ranchers, who will be integral to sustaining America’s agricultural future. Leading community and service organizations are on the front lines when it comes to identifying and training new farmers and ranchers.” The BFRDP grants are awarded to organizations implementing programs to train beginning farmers and ranchers, including workshops, educational teams, training and technical assistance throughout the United States. Fiscal year ’15 applications are due March 13. Priority topics are:
- Basic livestock, forest management and crop farming practices;
- Innovative farm, ranch, and private, nonindustrial forest land transfer strategies;
- Entrepreneurship and business training;
- Financial and risk management training (including the acquisition and management);
- Natural resource management and planning;
- Diversification and marketing strategies;
- Curriculum development;
- Mentoring, apprenticeships, and internships;
- Resources and referral;
- Farm financial benchmarking;
- Assisting beginning farmers or ranchers in acquiring land from retiring farmers and ranchers;
- Agricultural rehabilitation and vocational training for veterans;
- Farm safety and awareness; and
- Other similar subject areas of use to beginning farmers or ranchers.
The USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture will conduct a webinar for interested applicants on Feb. 11.