The USDA’s National Institutes of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has announced they will accept applications for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program from organizations that assist beginning farmers and ranchers (See www.grants.gov and enter CFDA Number 10.311). Applications are due June 12, 2014.
BFRDP is an education, training, technical assistance and outreach program designed to help farmers, ranchers and managers of non-industrial private forest land – specifically those aiming to start farming and those who have been farming or ranching for 10 or fewer years. It is managed by the National Institutes of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). NIFA will competitively award grants to organizations conducting programs to help beginning farmers and ranchers.
“USDA is committed to the next generation of America’s farmers and ranchers because they represent the future of agriculture and are the backbone of our rural economy. As the average age of farmers continues to rise, we have no time to lose in getting more new farmers and ranchers established,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Reauthorizing and expanding the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program is one of the many resources the 2014 Farm Bill gave us to build America’s agricultural future. Through this program, we can build a diverse next generation of farmers and ranchers.”
Grant funds “support the development of educational outreach curricula, workshops, educational teams, training, and technical assistance programs to assist beginning farmers and ranchers in the United States and its territories with entering, establishing, building and managing successful farm and ranch enterprises.” The primary goal of the program is to “enhance food security, community development, and sustainability by providing beginning farmers, ranchers, and managers of private, nonindustrial forest land and their families with the knowledge, skills and tools needed to make informed decisions for their operations, and enhance their sustainability”.
The USDA will make $19.2 million available for grants to assist farmers, ranchers, and managers of non-industrial private forest land who plan to start farming or who have been farming or ranching for 10 or fewer years. Priority will be given to projects that are partnerships and collaborations led by or including non-governmental, community-based, or school-based agricultural educational organizations. Five percent of the funding will be set aside for programs and services for limited-resource and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. Another 5% will be set aside for military veteran farmers and ranchers. All applicants are required to provide funds or in-kind support from non-federal sources in an amount that is at least equal to 25 percent of the federal funds requested.
Applications may only be submitted by a collaborative state, tribal, local, or regionally-based network or partnership of qualified public and/or private entities. These collaborations may include the following entities: State Cooperative Extension Services; Federal, State, or tribal agencies; community based organizations; nongovernmental organizations; junior and four-year colleges or universities or foundations maintained by a college or university; private for-profit organizations; and other appropriate partners. Inclusion of beginning and/or non-beginning farmers and ranchers as part of the collaborative group is strongly encouraged. Applications submitted by individuals are not eligible for consideration under any category applicable to the BFRDP.
The Request for Applications (text and pdf) can be found here. Additional information is available here . NIFA is hosting two upcoming webinars for interested applicants on April 30 and May 6 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. The first webinar will focus on general guidelines for the program, while the second webinar will focus on the funding allocations for socially-disadvantaged and military veteran farmers and ranchers.