According to a recent news release, the USDA is making more than $19 million available in grants to help train, educate, and enhance the sustainability of the next generation of American agricultural producers through a program called the “Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program” (BFRDP).
BFRDP is an education, training, technical assistance and outreach program designed to help farmers, ranchers and managers of non-industrial private land, specifically those aiming to start farming and those who have been farming or ranching for 10 years or fewer. Preliminary USDA Census results showed the average age of farmers has been steadily rising; this program is in part designed to stop this trend and get even more young people involved in the agriculture industry.
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, said in the release, "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. 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."
BFRDP was authorized as part of the 2014 Farm Bill, receiving $100 million to be awarded throughout the next five years. The program is managed by the National Institutes of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Additional information and application processes can be found here.