USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced the availability of more than $18 million in grants to help train, educate and enhance the sustainability of the next generation of farmers through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP).
"Beginning farmers and ranchers are critical to creating rural prosperity in the United States, but they face unique challenges and require education and assistance to ensure their profitability and sustainability," said Roger Beachy, NIFA director. "These grants will provide training the America's next generation of farmers and ranchers need to succeed."
BFRDP is an education, training, technical assistance and outreach program designed to help U.S. farmers and ranchers – specifically those who have been farming or ranching for 10 years or less. NIFA will make grants available to organizations to design programs to help beginning farmers and ranchers. Project results are expected to be disseminated widely to all farmers. Proposals are due April 6, and applications are available at www.csrees.usda.gov/fo/beginningfarmerandrancher.cfm.
This is the second year of the program, established by the Section 7410 of the 2008 farm bill. The program will also make $18 million in awards available in fiscal years 2011 and 2012. In FY 2009, BFRDP made 29 awards for approximately $17 million.
Priority will be given to projects that are partnerships and collaborations led by or including nongovernmental and community-based organizations with expertise in new agricultural producer training and outreach. All applicants are required to provide funds or in-kind support from non-federal sources in an amount that is at least equal to 25 percent of the federal funds requested.
In fiscal year 2010, only standard projects and a few educational enhancement teams will be funded. All projects will be limited to three years. Budget requests in the proposals must not exceed $250,000 per year. For standard projects, NIFA is looking for proposals in these areas:
• Mentoring, apprenticeships and internships
• Resources and referrals
• Assisting beginning farmers or ranchers in acquiring land from retiring farmers and ranchers
• Innovative farm and ranch transfer strategies
• Entrepreneurship and business training
• Model land leasing contracts
• Financial management training
• Whole farm planning
• Conservation assistance
• Risk management education
• Diversification and marketing strategies
• Curriculum development
• Understanding the impact of concentration and globalization
• Basic livestock and crop farming practices
• Acquisition and management of agricultural credit
• Environmental compliance
• Information processing
Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. More information is at: www.nifa.usda.gov.