Krysta Harden, deputy secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), has recently announced the availability of more than $18 million in funding to help educate, mentor and enhance the sustainability of the next generation of farmers.
The financial support, which has been granted in an effort to build a diverse future generation for American agriculture, is available through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). Harden says about the initiative, "The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program is critical for cultivating the next generation of farmers and ranchers, who will be integral to sustaining America's agricultural future. Leading community and service organizations are on the front lines when it comes to identifying and training new farmers and ranchers. Strong partnerships with these groups are the key to our success."
The BFRDP awards grants to organizations that implement programs to train beginning farmers and ranchers, which include workshops, educational teams, training, and technical assistance throughout the United States. Priority topics within the initiative include basic livestock, forest management, and crop farming practices.
This announcement marks another event in the USDA’s continued dedication to the future generations of American farming. Last year, the USDA invested an additional $19 million in grants to expand the BFRDP, which was one of the many resources the 2014 Farm Bill gave the agriculture industry.
As the average age of farmers continues to climb, the USDA is taking steps to invest in new farmers and ranchers. Their latest investments show the agency’s continued commitment to the future of agriculture.