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Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program

Many projects funded through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program train new producers to take advantage of local and regional marketing opportunities. For example, in Butte County, California, the Northern California Regional Land Trust received a grant in 2010 to help beginning farmers and ranchers increase sales in local and regional markets. In its first year, the Land Trust formed a tri-county technical advisory committee that includes county agriculture commissioners, university professors, economic development agency representatives, farmers, Land Trust staff, and farm credit personnel; conducted six technical workshops for new farmers and ranchers on topics ranging from accessing credit to successful direct marketing; and is developing a program to match new producers with available farmland. "We were working hard to protect the region's farmland but realized that without a new generation of farmers and a strong local food system, there would be no one to work the land, protected or not," said Noelle Ferdon, Director of Local Food Systems for the Land Trust. "It's our goal to bring resources to beginning farmers and ranchers so they can help protect the rich agricultural history of our region."

In rural California, a community is coming together to help new producers succeed while protecting working farmland from development. They are supported by a Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program grant from USDA. Read more about their successes