KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced an investment of over $50 million to 140 organizations and institutions that teach and train beginning farmers and ranchers.
“Strengthening and growing the pipeline of the next generation of farmers and ranchers is vital to the continued success of American agriculture,” said NIFA Director Dr. Carrie Castille. “We recognize that beginning farmers and ranchers have unique needs for education, training, and technical assistance. Their success, especially in the first 10 years, often hinges on access to reliable, science-based information and the latest educational resources so they can improve their operations’ profitability and sustainability long-term.”
“This investment will support curriculum creation, as well as informational materials and professional development on a wide range of important topics for new farmers and ranchers, such as managing capital, acquiring and managing land, and effective business and farming practices. These projects will benefit a rising generation of beginning farmers and ranchers regardless of their age or production choice,” Castille said.
In fiscal year 2020, NIFA awarded $16,783,829 in Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) grants. In fiscal year 2021, thanks to enhanced funding from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021, the total award investment for this program was $50,026,684, which included 85 newly funded grants and 55 continuation projects.
NIFA’s BFRDP funds three types of projects:
- Standard Projects to new and established local and regional training, education, outreach and technical assistance initiatives that address the unique local and regional needs of beginning farmers and ranchers.
- Educational Team Projects to help develop seamless beginning farmer and rancher education programs by conducting evaluation, coordination, and enhancement activities for Standard Projects and other non-funded beginning farmer programs.
- Curriculum and Training Clearinghouse to make educational curricula and training materials available to beginning farmers and ranchers and organizations who directly serve them.
Examples of the newly funded BFRDP projects for fiscal year 2021 include:
- Arkansas Land and Community Development Corporation will recruit and provide training and technical assistance to new and existing beginning farmers and ranchers throughout its 42-county service area in rural Arkansas. This project will exclusively serve military veterans, socially disadvantaged, and limited-resource farmers and ranchers. ($383,082)
- First Nations Development Institution (Colorado) will launch a Native Farmer and Rancher Apprenticeship Network to provide training, technical assistance, and networking opportunities to two groups of Native American beginning farmers and ranchers in two regions to expand business capacity, improve agricultural operations and strengthen the local and regional food supply chain in Indian Country. ($750,000)
- Kansas State University will provide start-up resources to develop the Center for Farma nd Ranch Transition within the Department of Agricultural Economics to provide critical services for beginning farmers/ranchers in Kansas. Resources will include a land-link program to match existing landowners with beginning farmers/ranchers through an application and curated matching process; one-on-one technical services to facilitate transition of an existing farm/ranch operation; and an extensive training program for beginning farmers/ranchers to master critical financial and business skills. ($748,347)
For more information about NIFA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, visit https://nifa.usda.gov/program/
Each year, an official Request for Applications is posted on NIFA’s website to solicit project proposals for funding. Program recipients must be a collaborative state, tribal, local, or regionally based network or partnership of public or private entities, which may include: a state Cooperative Extension Service; a federal, state or tribal agency; a community-based and nongovernmental organization; college or university (including an institution awarding associates degrees) or foundation maintained by a college or university; or any other appropriate partner, as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture.
NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and Extension across the nation to make transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. NIFA supports initiatives that ensure the long-term viability of agriculture and applies an integrated approach to ensure that groundbreaking discoveries in agriculture-related sciences and technologies reach the people who can put them into practice. In FY2020, NIFA’s total investment was $1.95 billion.
Visit our website: www.nifa.usda.gov; Twitter: @USDA_NIFA; LinkedIn: USDA-NIFA. To learn more about NIFA’s impact on agricultural science (searchable by state or keyword), visit www.nifa.usda.gov/impacts.