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USDA Deputy Secretary Harden Announces $17 Million to Support America's Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Aims to Develop a Strong, Diverse Next Generation of American Farmers; Supports Efforts to Bring Veterans and Socially Disadvantaged Entrepreneurs into Farming and Ranching

Editor's Note: This release has been update to correct that 10% of projects will substantially support veterans. The corrected release also removes projects listed in Chicago, Ill., and Corvallis, Ore., and adds projects in Davis, CA., and Lancaster, Mass

WASHINGTON, Oct. 8, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today 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, 10 percent of the funding supports veterans and farming, while about 50 percent of the funding will serve 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, Ala., $711,213
  • Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Ala., $459,914
  • University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark., $681,459
  • Farmer Veteran Coalition, Davis, Calif., $712,500
  • Planting Justice, Oakland, Calif., $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, Ill., $712,500
  • Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa, $698,393
  • Kentucky State University, Frankfort, Ky., $493,467
  • Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, Unity, Maine, $709,713
  • World Farmers, Inc., Lancaster, Mass., $711,562
  • The Greening of Detroit, Detroit, Mich., $100,000
  • Hmong American Farmers Association, St. Paul, Minn., $712,500
  • Mississippi Delta Council for Farm Workers Opportunities, Inc., Clarksdale, Miss., $681,628
  • Winston County Self Help Cooperative, Jackson, Miss., $538,271
  • Legal Aid of Nebraska, Omaha, Neb., $654,902
  • Land for Good, Inc., Keene, N.H., $641,222
  • Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J., $460,170
  • Center of Southwest Culture, Inc., Albuquerque, N.M., $100,000
  • Hawthorne Valley Association, Ghent, N.Y., $693,918
  • Dakota Rural Action, Brookings, S.D., $225,079
  • South Dakota State University, Brookings, S.D., $706,907
  • University of Texas - Pan American, Edinburg, Texas, $712,500
  • Arcadia Food, Inc., Alexandria, Va., $100,000
  • Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va., $656,903
  • University of Vermont, Burlington, Vt., $720,989
  • Organic Seed Alliance, Port Townsend, Wash., $251,237
  • Tri-State Local Foods, Inc., Huntington, W.V., $100,000
  • Easter Seals Wisconsin, Inc., Madison, Wisc., $496,914
  • Southwest Badger Resource Conservation & Development Council, Platteville, Wisc., $219,274
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisc., $187,379
  • Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service, Spring Valley, Wisc., $310,419

Information on past awards can be found on the NIFA website.

Funding for the BFRDP program is authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit the Farm Bill page on the USDA website.

More information about USDA support for new farmers and ranchers is available on the New Farmers page on the USDA website.

NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and extension and seeks to make transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. To learn more about NIFA's impact on agricultural science, visit or follow us on Twitter @usda_nifa using hashtag #NIFAImpacts.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay)