WASHINGTON, Jan. 12, 2015 – USDA is making $18 million available to assist in the education and development of the next generation of farmers.The funds are provided through the 2014 farm bill under the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) and will be administered by USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

The BFRDP is ‘critical for cultivating the next generation of farmers and ranchers, who will be integral to sustaining America’s agricultural future,” USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden said in announcing the funding.

The awards go to organizations on the front lines of “identifying and training new farmers and ranchers,” including collaborative governmental or regionally-based networks, public private partnerships, nongovernmental and community-based organizations, and higher education institutions,” Harden said. “Strong partnerships with these groups are the key to our success.” 

Winning awards from last year’s application cycle will be announced in the near future. FY 2015 applications are due March 13. 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 farmworker audiences, USDA said. All applicants must provide funds or in-kind support in an amount that is at least equal to 25 percent of the federal funds requested.

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NIFA will host a webinar for interested applicants on 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 after the event.

Priority is given to programs targeting:

                •             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 of agricultural credit);

                •             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.

From 2009 to 2012, USDA awarded more than $71 million to 145 BFRDF projects.


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