The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) just announced more than $17 million in grants for organizations that will develop training and provide other resources for beginning farmers and ranchers across the nation. The awards are made through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, which is administered by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
“When new farmers and ranchers start their operations, the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program can help them implement tested strategies and new ideas that in turn benefit all of us by reducing food insecurity, growing economic opportunities, and building communities,” said Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden. “Today, we are partnering with organizations who recognize that an investment in our beginning farmers and ranchers is also an investment in our future.”
The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program was first established by the 2008 Farm Bill and was continued in the 2014 Farm Bill. The program provides support to those who have farmed or ranched for less than 10 years. NIFA awards grants to organizations throughout the United States that implement programs to train beginning farmers and ranchers, which may take place through workshops, educational teams, training, or technical assistance.
The 2014 Farm Bill mandated that at least five percent of BFRDP funding must support veterans and socially disadvantaged farmers. This year, more than 15 percent of the funded projects have a substantial component that supports veterans and farming, while about 50 percent of the projects focus mainly on socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
Since 2009, 184 awards have been made for more than $90 million through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. These awards are part of USDA’s deep commitment to empowering beginning farmers and ranchers across America.
Fiscal year 2015 grants include:
- Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, $711,213
- Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama, $459,914
- University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, $681,459
- Planting Justice, Oakland, California, $708,700
- American Farmland Trust, Washington, D.C., $669,796
- Hmong National Development, Washington, D.C., $711,623
- University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, $506,122
- Chicago Horticultural Society, Chicago, Illinois, $712,500
- Global Garden Refugee Training Farm, Chicago, Illinois, $71,080
- Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, $698,393
- Kentucky State University, Frankfort, Kentucky, $493,467
- Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, Unity, Maine, $709,713
- The Greening of Detroit, Detroit, Michigan, $100,000
- Hmong American Farmers Association, St. Paul, Minnesota, $712,500
- Mississippi Delta Council for Farm Workers Opportunities, Inc., Clarksdale, Mississippi, $681,628
- Winston County Self Help Cooperative, Jackson, Mississippi, $538,271
- Legal Aid of Nebraska, Omaha, Nebraska, $654,902
- Land for Good, Inc., Keene, New Hampshire, $641,222
- Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, $460,170
- Center of Southwest Culture, Inc., Albuquerque, New Mexico, $100,000
- Hawthorne Valley Association, Ghent, New York, $693,918
- Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, $664,892
- Dakota Rural Action, Brookings, South Dakota, $225,079
- South Dakota State University, Brookings, South Dakota, $706,907
- University of Texas – Pan American, Edinburg, Texas, $712,500
- Arcadia Food, Inc., Alexandria, Virginia, $100,000
- Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, $656,903
- University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont, $720,989
- Organic Seed Alliance, Port Townsend, Washington, $251,237
- Tri-State Local Foods, Inc., Huntington, West Virginia, $100,000
- Easter Seals Wisconsin, Inc., Madison, Wisconsin, $496,914
- Southwest Badger Resource Conservation & Development Council, Platteville, Wisconsin, $219,274
- University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, $187,379
- Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service, Spring Valley, Wisconsin, $310,419
NIFA expects to make two additional awards this fiscal year by December 2015. Information on past awards can be found on the NIFA website.