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NIFA Now Accepting Proposals to the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program

Media Contact: Jennifer Martin, (202) 720-8188

WASHINGTON, Oct. 28, 2010 – USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) is now accepting grant proposals to the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program (BFRDP) for projects to provide education, training, mentoring and internships to beginning farmers and ranchers that will help them run successful and sustainable farms.

Applications are due to NIFA by Dec. 22, 2010 and must be submitted through Grants.gov. The request for applications can be found on the NIFA website at http://www.nifa.usda.gov/fo/beginningfarmerandrancher.cfm.

BFRDP is an education, training, technical assistance and outreach program designed to help U.S. farmers and ranchers, specifically those who have been farming or ranching for 10 years or fewer. Under the program, which was established through the 2008 Farm Bill, NIFA will make grants to organizations that will implement programs to help beginning farmers and ranchers.

According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture, the average age of farm operators was 57 years. Farmers over the age 55 own more than half the farmland in the U.S. But the number of new farmers and ranchers over the age of 35 is increasing, as does the number of smaller farms and ranches nationwide. The BRFDP was created to address the needs of this new generation of farmers and ranchers. A beginning farm is considered to be one that is operated by one or more operators who have 10 years or less of experience operating a farm or ranch. In 2007, approximately 21 percent of family farms met that definition.

This year, fiscal year 2011, NIFA will make $19 million available through the program. BFRDP provided 18 million in funding in fiscal year 2009 and $19 million in fiscal year 2010 with an additional $19 million in fiscal year 2012.

Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future.  More information is at: www.nifa.usda.gov.

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