Program Synopsis: Beginning Farmers and Rancher (March 1, 2011)
The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) was authorized in the 2008 Food, Conservation, and Energy Act (Pub .L. No. 110-234, Section 7410,) amending Section 7405 of the previous Farm Bill.
Approximately $18 million will be available to support training, education, outreach, and technical assistance initiatives for beginning farmers or ranchers in fiscal year 2011.
In accordance with the authorizing legislation, Priority will be given to partnerships and collaborations led by or including nongovernmental and community-based organizations with expertise in new agricultural producer training and outreach. At least 25 percent of the funds will support programs and services that address the needs of limited resource beginning farmers or ranchers; socially disadvantaged beginning farmers or ranchers; and farm workers desiring to become farmers or ranchers. The term “farmer” is used in the broadest sense and should be interpreted to include traditional agricultural farmers, ranchers, and tree farmers. As far as possible, geographical diversity will also be ensured.
Since its inception, BFRDP has funded sixty five Standard Projects to train, educate, and provide outreach and technical assistance to beginning farmers on one or more of the following topics:
- Production and management strategies to enhance land stewardship by beginning farmers and ranchers.
- Business management and decision support strategies that enhance the financial viability of beginning farmers and ranchers.
- Marketing strategies that enhance the competitiveness of beginning farmers and ranchers.
- Legal strategies that assist beginning farmers with farm or land acquisition and transfer.
- Other Priority Topics to enhance competitiveness and sustainability of beginning farmers and ranchers for the next generation.
Based on stakeholder feedback, forestry has been included as an acceptable topic.
Three Educational Enhancement Team Projects and one Clearinghouse grant were funded in FY 2009. The purpose of an Educational Enhancement Team grant is to assemble a team of experts to review beginning farmer and rancher curriculums and programs, identify gaps, and develop and disseminate recommendations and materials to address these gaps. The Educational Enhancement Teams will not train beginning farmers and ranchers but may train-the-trainers and help enhance funded and non-funded beginning farmer and rancher education programs in the nation. The USDA National Agricultural Library received the Clearinghouse grant and is now establishing an electronic library of for all beginning farmer and rancher education programs and opportunities in the nation.
BFRDP program recipients must be a collaborative State, tribal, local, or regionally-based network or partnership of public or private entities, which may include: a state cooperative extension service; a Federal, State or tribal agency; a community-based and nongovernmental organization; college or university (including an institution awarding an associate’s degree) or foundation maintained by a college or university; or any other appropriate partner, as determined by the Secretary.
Types of Projects
There will be two types of projects: (a) Standard Projects: to new and established local and regional training, education, outreach and technical assistance initiatives that address the needs of beginning farmers and ranchers in selected areas; and (b) Educational Enhancement Projects: To 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.
The Awards Process
Awards will be made through a competitive grants process, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
Grants will fund projects limited to 3 years, budget requests must not exceed $250,000 per year. Farm Bill provisions require all applicants to provide funds or in-kind support from non-Federal sources at least 25 percent of the Federal funds requested.
NIFA anticipates releasing the FY 2012 Request for Applications (RFA) in the summer of 2011, with a 60-day open period. The RFA will be posted on-line at http://www.nifa.usda.gov/fo/funding.cfm All applications for funding must be submitted electronically through www.Grants.gov This process requires pre-registration and can take up to one month. We encourage all potential applicants to begin the registration process as soon as possible.
Reviewers from universities, government, CBOs, for-profit and non-profit organizations and from the farming community will provide peer assessment and recommend applications for funding. More information on the review process is available at http://www.nifa.usda.gov/business/competitive_peer_review.html.
Post Award Monitoring
Projects are required to acknowledge USDA-NIFA funding in all presentations, publications, news releases, etc.
Projects are required to collect and submit outcome based data to USDA-NIFA through annual reports.
The annual Project Directors meeting provides opportunities for networking and sharing of best practices.
The National Agricultural Library is establishing an electronic BFRDP Clearinghouse for all beginning farmer and rancher education programs and opportunities in the nation.
National Program Leader: Dr. S. (Suresh) Sureshwaran.
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