U.S. Department of Agriculture: Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program
The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) will support the delivery of education, mentoring, and technical assistance programs to help beginning farmers and ranchers in the U.S. and its territories with entering, establishing, building, and managing successful farm and ranch enterprises.
The primary goal of BFRDP is to help beginning farmers and ranchers enter and/or improve their successes 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 and ranchers 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 may be interpreted to include agricultural farmers, ranchers, and non-industrial private forest owners and managers.
Priorities are as follows:
- Basic livestock, forest management, and crop farming practices
- Innovative farm, ranch, and private nonindustrial forest land transfer and succession strategies
- Entrepreneurship and business training
- Technical assistance to help beginning farmers or ranchers acquire land from retiring farmers and ranchers
- 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
- Agricultural rehabilitation and vocational training for veteran farmers and ranchers
- Farm safety and awareness
- Food safety and record-keeping
- Other similar subject areas of use to beginning farmers or ranchers
Applications for the BFRDP will be accepted under the following areas:
- Standard Grants: Most of the funding in the BFRDP will be directed to Standard Grants. The primary goal of Standard Grants is to increase the number of beginning farmers and ranchers and enhance their successes and sustainability by providing them and their families with the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to make informed decisions.
- Educational Teams (ETs): The purpose of an Educational Team (ET) grant is to enhance beginning farmer efforts based on a particular topic, region, or audience. Such applications should complement previously-funded ETs, which have addressed environmental management and leadership, regional networks, farmer-to-farmer curricula, financial management, and individual development accounts; as well as currently active ETs, which are addressing immigrant farming incubators, land access, women farmers, apprenticeships, alternative energy, and the Farm Beginnings curriculum.
- Curriculum and Training Clearinghouse: The general purpose of the online Clearinghouse is to make available to beginning farmers or ranchers educational curricula and training materials and programs, which may include online courses for direct use by beginning farmers or ranchers. It does so in large part by collaborating and facilitating coordination and sharing across all BFRDP programs (both standard and ET projects) and other collaborators. Duties of the Clearinghouse are as follows: (1) Maintain and enhance an online accessible library for beginning Farmer and Rancher education, training, mentoring, and outreach materials produced from projects funded through the BFRDP program and through other sources; (2) Facilitate sharing, collaboration, and use of curricula and information; and (3) Assist in enhancing outcome-based reporting.
Amount: Approximately $14,000,000 is available to make awards as follows:
- Standard Grants – Up to $200,000 per year for up to three years for large standard grants; up to $100,000 per year for up to three years for small standard grants; and less than $50,000 for a simplified standard grant application process for one year
- Educational Team (ET) – Up to $200,000 per year for up to three years
- Curriculum and Training Clearinghouse – Up to $200,000 per year for up to three years
Eligibility: Applications may only be submitted by a collaborative state, tribal, local, or regionally-based network or partnership of qualified public and/or private entities. These collaborations may include the following entities: State Cooperative Extension Services; Federal, State, municipal, 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.
Applications from partnerships and collaborations that are led by or include nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations (CBOs), and school-based agricultural educational organizations (SAEOs) with expertise in new agricultural producer training and outreach will be given priority in funding.
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