Today, U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Deputy Secretary, Krysta Harden, announced more than $18 million in grants to educate, mentor, and enhance the sustainability of the next generation of farmers. The grants are available through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program  administered by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture , which was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

Harden said, “As new farmers and ranchers get started, they are really looking to their community for support. The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program empowers these farmers and ranchers to bring innovative ideas to the table when it comes to addressing food security, creating economic enterprises, and building communities,”  and that  “As we celebrate the first anniversary of the 2014 Farm Bill, programs like these are evidence that an investment in beginning farmers and ranchers is an investment in our future”.

The BFRDP program, first established by the 2008 Farm Bill, aims to support those who have farmed or ranched less than 10 years with workshops, educational teams, training, and technical assistance throughout the United States. NIFA awards grants to organizations that implement programs to train beginning farmers and ranchers.  The 2014 Farm Bill mandated at least five percent of BFRDP funding support veterans and socially disadvantaged farmers.