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

Deadline: March 13, 2015

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) supports the development of educational outreach curricula, workshops, educational teams, training, and technical assistance programs to assist beginning farmers and ranchers in the United States and its territories with entering, establishing, building and managing successful farm and ranch enterprises. The primary goal is to enhance food security, community development and sustainability by providing beginning farmer and ranchers (includes beginning managers of private, nonindustrial forest land, hereafter) and their families in the United States and its territories with the knowledge, skills and tools needed to make informed decisions for their operations, and enhance their sustainability.

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. BFRDP projects should conduct training and assistance for beginning farmers and ranchers on one or more of the topics listed below, making use of existing curriculum (whether USDA funded or not) or developing new curriculum where needed. Priority topics are:
A. Basic livestock, forest management, and crop farming practices
B. Innovative farm, ranch, and private, nonindustrial forest land transfer strategies
C. Entrepreneurship and business training
D. Financial and risk management training (including the acquisition and management of
agricultural credit)
E. Natural resource management and planning
F. Diversification and marketing strategies
G. Curriculum development
H. Mentoring, apprenticeships, and internships
I. Resources and referral
J. Farm financial benchmarking
K. Assisting beginning farmers or ranchers in acquiring land from retiring farmers and
ranchers
L. Agricultural rehabilitation and vocational training for veterans
M. Farm safety and awareness
N. Other similar subject areas of use to beginning farmers or ranchers

Applications are being solicited for BFRDP under the following areas:

  1. Standard Grants – These projects support local and regional training, education, outreach and technical assistance initiatives for beginning farmers and ranchers, on the priority topics listed above. Most of the funding in the BFRDP goes to Standard Grants. The primary goal is to increase the number of beginning farmers and ranchers and enhance their sustainability by providing them and their families the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to make informed decisions. Priority is given to partnerships and collaborations that are led by or include nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations (CBOs), or school-based agricultural educational organizations (SAEOs) with expertise in beginning agricultural producer training and outreach.
  2. Educational Enhancement Team (EET) – is to assemble 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.

Amount: Total: $18,540,000; Standard grant awards: UP to $250,000 for up to 3 years; Educational Enhancement Team awards: Up to $200,000 for up to 4 years. Recipients must provide a match in the form of cash or in-kind contributions in an amount at least equal to 25 percent.

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, or tribal agencies; community based organizations; nongovernmental organizations; junior and four-year colleges or universities or foundations maintained by a college or university; private for-profit organizations; and other appropriate partners. 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.

Link: http://www.nifa.usda.gov/funding/rfas/bfrdp.html

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