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News Release

Release No. 0572.10
Jennifer Martin (202) 720-8188

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USDA Supports Beginning Farmer and Rancher Training at Ohio State University

CLEVELAND, Oct. 27, 2010 – Deputy Agriculture Secretary Kathleen Merrigan today announced $740,096 in funding for Ohio State University to train beginning farmers and ranchers to develop small farming operations while supporting the Cleveland Urban Agriculture Incubator Pilot Project.

"Beginning farmers and ranchers face unique challenges, and these efforts will help provide the training needed to ensure these producers become profitable and sustainable," said Merrigan. "As the average age of farmers today is 57 and continues to rise, we must do everything we can to recruit a new generation of people to produce our food. They will continue to play an important part of American agriculture as they feed people in their local communities and, in some cases, throughout the world."

The Cleveland Urban Agriculture Incubator Pilot Project, will pool resources from the public and private partners to fund site preparation and improvements to transform city-owned, vacant land into an urban agriculture business incubator. The project will provide fresh, nutritious foods to Cleveland's neighborhoods, create jobs and put money back into the local economy. The grant is awarded to Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, to offer a variety of training opportunities and workshops to women, minorities, immigrants and limited resource adults with developmental disabilities develop small farming operations on a 3,300-acre area of land in the city of Cleveland.

USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded the grant through its Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). BFRDP is an education, training, technical assistance and outreach program designed to help U.S. farmers and ranchers, specifically those who have been farming or ranching for 10 years or fewer. Under the program, which was established through the 2008 Farm Bill, NIFA will make grants to organizations that will implement programs to help beginning farmers and ranchers.

BFRDP will provide up to $18 million in funding this year. This is the second year of the program, and $18 million will be made available in fiscal years 2011 and 2012. In FY 2009, BFRDP made 29 awards for approximately $17 million. For more information on the BFRDP program, visit:

For more information on this specific project, contact Marie Barni at (216) 429-8200, barni.4@osu.eduThis is an external link or third-party site outside of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website..

Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. More information is at:


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