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NIFA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Provides Competitive Grants for Mentoring, Education, and Assistance

Posted by Denis Ebodaghe, PhD, NIFA National Program Leader for Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program in Rural
Jul 29, 2021
Family on farm
Ensuring there will be a new generation of beginning farmers and ranchers is vital to the successful continuation of agricultural production in the U.S. Photo by Getty Images.

Interest in agricultural careers is enjoying a resurgence in America. While there are many excellent opportunities in farming and ranching, beginning farmers and ranchers have unique needs for education, training, technical assistance, and outreach. For those within their first 10 years of operation, it’s vital beginning farmers and ranchers have access to capital, land, and information to help improve their operations’ profitability and sustainability.

The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) provides competitive grants to organizations and institutions for education, mentoring, and technical assistance initiatives for beginning farmers or ranchers. Each year, an official Request for Applications is posted on NIFA’s website to solicit project proposals for funding.

NIFA’s BFRDP funds three types of projects:

  • Standard Projectsto new and established local and regional training, education, outreach, and technical assistance initiatives that address the unique local and regional needs of beginning farmers and ranchers.
     
  • Educational Team Projectsto help develop seamless beginning farmer and rancher education programs by conducting evaluation, coordination, and enhancement activities for Standard Projects and other non-funded beginning farmer programs.
     
  • Curriculum and Training Clearinghouseto make educational curricula and training materials available to beginning farmers and ranchers and organizations who directly serve them.

In Fiscal Year 2020, NIFA awarded $16,783,829 in BFRDP grants. Some recent examples of funded projects include:

  • In Her Shoes, Inc. received a three-year, $295,761 grant for The Increasing Agribusiness Viability Among Women and Minorities project. Their work will provide education, training and mentorship opportunities to 20 new and beginning women and minority, particularly black farmers, each year in Georgia.
     
  • Rosebud Economic Development Corporation received a three-year, $599,326 grant to provide training and technical assistance to native American tribes in establishing new farm operations in South Dakota.
  • Agriculture and Land Based Training Association received a three-year, $600,000 grant to assist Latino Immigrant farmworkers transition to organic farming by assisting to secure land and navigating transition to successful independent farming in California.

Ensuring there will be a new generation of beginning farmers and ranchers — regardless of age or production choice — is vital to continuing successful agricultural production in the U.S.

USDA Science Blueprintand moves us closer to meeting the goals outlined in USDA’s Agriculture Innovation Agenda (PDF, 196 KB).

Denis Ebodaghe, who oversees partnership and collaborative efforts with NIFA’s land-grant university partners and other stakeholders, formulating and guiding broad scale efforts to assist small farmers and ranchers in improving their profitability and the economic viability of their enterprises.

Category/Topic: Rural

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Comments

Ron Guidry Jr
Mar 12, 2021

I’m a first generation Black Farmer and I’d like to know more about this program.

Thank you!

Deaven Boy
Mar 30, 2021

I am a young Native American girl looking to start up her ranch and would love to learn more about this program.

Christopher Cobbs Jr
Jul 06, 2021

Hi, I am interested in developing in door farming in the Tampa Bay area. Would I be eligible for this grant. I served in the US Marine and US Navy.

Jason Frazier
Jul 27, 2021

I live in the south and would like to open a chicken and chicken processing Farm I am an African-American thanks

Christian Reedy
Aug 11, 2021

I am a first time farmer who would use the money to purchase the land where I will have all my animals on pasture which is a much more humane way for the animals to live. This way they are not confined. They will have enormous amounts of space run around and stretch their muscles as well as eat grass and insects as was intended for animals to do. I will also be growing vegetables and have an orchard. As you can see I will need a lot of acres to implement my plan. My major expense is the land which is why I am asking for your assistance.

Ben Weaver
Aug 12, 2021

@Christian Reedy - thank you for your comment. The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) provides competitive grants to organizations and institutions for education, mentoring, and technical assistance initiatives for beginning farmers or ranchers. Each year, an official Request for Applications is posted on NIFA’s website to solicit project proposals for funding. Learn more about who is eligible and how to apply for a BFRDP grant.

Wendy Johnson
Aug 12, 2021

I am a beginning black farmer and I’d like to learn more about this program.

Ben Weaver
Aug 12, 2021

@Wendy Johnson - thank you for your comment. The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) provides competitive grants to organizations and institutions for education, mentoring, and technical assistance initiatives for beginning farmers or ranchers. Each year, an official Request for Applications is posted on NIFA’s website to solicit project proposals for funding. Learn more about who is eligible and how to apply for a BFRDP grant.

Tristin Thomas
Aug 12, 2021

I am a black female who has started cattle farming. I am looking into assistance with funding. I am currently taking beginner Cattleman Program with the LSUAg center here in Louisiana

Ben Weaver
Aug 12, 2021

@To all readers - thank you for your comment. The USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) provides competitive grants to organizations and institutions for education, mentoring, and technical assistance initiatives for beginning farmers or ranchers. Each year, an official Request for Applications is posted on NIFA’s website to solicit project proposals for funding. Learn more about who is eligible and how to apply for a BFRDP grant.

Torre Morris
Sep 30, 2021

Hello as a first time farmer I would like to learn more as a black male

Michael Kyles
Oct 07, 2021

Hello I'm a young black farmer looking to start farming an I'm interested in knowing more about this program.