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

Deadline: February 8, 2018

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture requests applications for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) for fiscal year 2018 to support the delivery of education, mentoring, and technical assistance programs to help beginning farmers and ranchers in the United States and its territories with entering, establishing, building, and managing successful farm and ranch enterprises.

BFRDP projects will be expected to conduct training and assistance for beginning farmers and ranchers on one or more of the following topics:

  • 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
  • Other similar subject areas of use to beginning farmers or ranchers

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

There are two types of grants available:

  1. Standard Grants: The primary goal of Standard Grants is to increase the number of beginning farmers and ranchers and enhance their success and sustainability by providing them and their families with the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to make informed decisions. Standard Grant applications are expected to identify the audience of beginning farmers and ranchers they aim to serve; describe their characteristics and needs; demonstrate knowledge and experience in educational and assistance methods that are appropriate and effective in engaging the audience and meeting their needs; and propose an ambitious yet achievable plan of work that will accomplish meaningful and measurable success in enhancing the number and success of beginning farmers and ranchers. Most successful standard grant applicants provide training and assistance with business and financial management, as well as production and marketing topics. Both large and small Standard Grants will be made. The expectations for smaller projects, however, will be commensurate with their size (e.g., smaller audiences, more limited geographic reach, less complex collaborative arrangements) and provide an opportunity for smaller or less experienced organizations to propose projects that have smaller budgets and less complex administration.
  2. Educational Enhancement Teams (EET): The purpose of an EET grant is to enhance beginning farmer efforts based on a particular topic, region, or audience. Such applications should complement previously-funded EETs, which have addressed environmental management and leadership, regional networks, farmer-to-farmer curricula, financial management, and individual development accounts; as well as currently active EETs, which are addressing immigrant farming incubators, land access, women farmers, apprenticeships, and the Farm Beginnings curriculum. EETs should involve educational teams of experts with diverse backgrounds.

Amount: Varies by type:

  • Standard Grants: $200,000 per year for up to three years for large standard grants; $100,000 per year for up to three years for small standard grants
  • EET Grants: $200,000 per year for up to three years

Eligibility: Collaborative state, tribal, local, or regionally-based networks or partnerships of qualified public and/or private entities. These collaborations may include the following entities: State Cooperative Extension Services; Federal, State, or tribal agencies; community based organizations; nongovernmental organizations; 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.

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

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