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U.S. Department of Agriculture: Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program

Deadline: December 8, 2016

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) supports new and established local and regional training, education, outreach, and technical assistance initiatives for beginning farmers or ranchers in the U.S. The primary goal of BFRDP is to help beginning farmers and ranchers in the U.S. and its territories to enter and/or improve their success in farming, ranching, and management of nonindustrial private forest lands, through support for projects that provide education, mentoring, and technical assistance to give beginning farmers the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to make informed decisions for their operations, and enhance their sustainability. The term “farmer” is used in the broadest sense and should be interpreted to include agricultural farmers, ranchers, and non-industrial private forest owners and managers. The target audience is farmers and ranchers who have not operated a farm or ranch, or have operated a farm or ranch for not more than 10 years.

Programs and services include the following:

  1. Basic livestock, forest management, and crop farming practices
  2. Innovative farm, ranch, and private, nonindustrial forest land transfer strategies
  3. Entrepreneurship and business training
  4. Financial and risk management training (including the acquisition and management of agricultural credit)
  5. Natural resource management and planning
  6. Diversification and marketing strategies
  7. Curriculum development
  8. Mentoring, apprenticeships, and internships
  9. Resources and referral
  10. Farm financial benchmarking
  11. Assisting beginning farmers or ranchers in acquiring land from retiring farmers and ranchers
  12. Agricultural rehabilitation and vocational training for veterans
  13. Farm safety and awareness
  14. Other similar subject areas of use to beginning farmers or ranchers

Applications will be accepted under two areas:

  1. Standard grants: These grants support new and established local and regional training, education, outreach and technical assistance initiatives for beginning farmers and ranchers, on the priority topics listed above. The primary goal is to increase the number of beginning farmers and ranchers and enhance their success and sustainability by providing them and their families the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to make informed decisions. Most successful standard grant applicants provide training and assistance on business and financial management as well as production and marketing topics from the priority list above.
  2. Educational Enhancement Teams (EETs): These grants support a team of experts to review beginning farmer and rancher curricula and programs (including review and evaluation of previously-funded BFRDP projects), identify gaps, and develop, disseminate and facilitate the use of materials and tools to address these gaps. EETs are designed to train-the-trainers and help enhance funded and non-funded beginning farmer and rancher education programs in the nation. In 2016, successful EET applicants will do the following: 1) EET-Evaluation: evaluate the portfolio of all completed BFRDP standard projects, to identify and summarize short- and long-term outcomes and impacts; analyze factors contributing to success; and communicate results; 2) EET-Assistance: assist less experienced applicants to understand and meet the requirements of a successful BFRDP grant application; and 3) EET-Other: EET-Other: work to complement previously-funded EETs, which have addressed environmental management and leadership, regional networks, farmer-to-farmer curricula, financial management, and individual development accounts; and currently active EETs, which are addressing immigrant farming incubators, land access, and women farmers.

Amount: Approximately $18,000,000 is available, as follows:

  • Standard grants: 30-35 awards anticipated; standard grant awards are $200,000 for up to three years for large standard grants and $80,000 per year for up to three years for small standard grants.
  • EET-Evaluation: 1 award anticipated; up to $150,000 for one year.
  • EET-Assistance: 1 award anticipated; up to $250,000 for two years.
  • EET-Other: 0-2 awards anticipated; up to $200,000 per year for up to three years.

Recipients must provide a match in the form of cash or in-kind contributions in an amount at least equal to 25 percent.

In addition, a portion of BFRDP funding is set aside for projects that address the needs of two subsets of beginning farmers and ranchers:

  • At least 5 percent (5%) of the program funds available for standard BFRDP projects will be allocated to address the needs of limited resource beginning farmers and ranchers; socially disadvantaged beginning farmers or ranchers; and/or farm workers (including immigrants) desiring to become beginning farmers or ranchers.
  • At least 5 percent (5%) of the program funds available for standard BFRDP projects will be allocated to address the needs of beginning farmers and ranchers who are military veterans. A recipient of such a grant may coordinate with a recipient of a grant from the AgrAbility program (http://www.agrability.org/) in addressing the needs of veteran farmers and ranchers with disabilities.

Eligibility: A collaborative state, tribal, local, or regionally-based network or partnership of qualified public and/or private entities may apply. These collaborations may include the following entities: State Cooperative Extension Services; federal, state, or tribal agencies; community based organizations (CBOs); nongovernmental organizations (NGOs); junior and four-year colleges or universities or foundations maintained by a college or university; and private for-profit organizations. Inclusion of beginning and/or non-beginning farmers and ranchers as part of the collaborative group is strongly encouraged. Award recipients may subcontract to organizations not eligible to apply provided such organizations are necessary for the conduct of the project.

Applications from partnerships and collaborations that are led by or include NGOs, CBOs, and school-based agricultural educational organizations (SAEOs) with expertise in new agricultural producer training and outreach will be given priority in funding.

Link: https://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/beginning-farmer-and-rancher-development-program-bfrdp

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