The new farmer grants are the latest round of grants for this program authorized in the current farm bill cycle.  Current funding for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program expires on September 30 this year, and unless Congress acts on reauthorizing the farm bill or provides for a short-term extension of the current farm bill that explicitly provides for new BFRDP funding, the program could completely vanish for at least a year.

Secretary Vilsack stressed the need for Congress to do its work and pass a farm bill in order to give producers the certainty they need. “There’s no reason that this can’t be done,” Vilsack said.  “Whatever differences exist can be worked out.”

“Given the demonstrated success and growing demand for new farmer training programs, it is critical to our future food security and vitality of our rural communities that this valuable program be renewed and provided continued funding in the next farm bill,” says Obudzinski.  “With over half of our country’s farmers reaching or exceeding retirement age within the next ten years, cutting funding for BFRDP would be a huge step backwards in addressing the urgent need for resources and tools to support the next generation of farmers and the future of American agriculture.  We urge Congress to pass the new farm bill and include robust funding for BFRDP to support the new economic opportunities that will help reform the farm and food system.”

Click here for a complete list of 2012 BFRDP awardees.