November 29, 2021

NIFA to Invest Over $50 Million in New Farmers and Ranchers

NIFA to Invest Over $50 Million in New Farmers and Ranchers 

By: Sydney Sheffield 

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced it will invest over $50 million in 140 organizations benefitting beginner farmers and ranchers. The funding for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) has increased from FY2020 by about $33 million due to the enhanced funding from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021. 

“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 in a press release. “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.”

The BFRDP grants will fund three different types of projects. First, is the Standard Project benefitting new and established local and regional training, education, outreach, and technical assistance initiatives that address the unique local and regional needs for beginning farmers and ranchers. An example of this project is the Arkansas Land and Community Development Corporation. The Corporation will recruit, train, and provide technical assistance to military veterans, socially disadvantaged, and limited-resource beginner farmers and ranchers throughout rural Arkansas. 

The next type of project is the Educational Ream Projects, designed to help develop seamless educational programs by conducting evaluation, coordination, and enhanced activities for Standard Projects and other non-funded beginning farmer and rancher programs. The First Nations Development Institute will launch the 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. 

Lastly, BFRDP will fund Curriculum and Training Clearinghouse to make educational curricula and training materials available to beginning farmers and ranchers and organizations who directly serve them. A supported project is at Kansas State University, which will provide start-up resources to develop the Center for Farm and Ranch Transition within the Department of Agricultural Economics to provide critical services for beginning farmers and ranchers in Kansas. 

Check out this link for more information about BFRDP.