USDA Invests $17.8M To Educate Next Generation Of Growers

USDA Invests $17.8M To Educate Next Generation Of Growers

In a meeting with new and beginning farmers at Iowa State University today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced an investment of $17.8 million for 37 projects to help educate, mentor, and enhance the sustainability of the next generation of farmers. The investment is made through USDA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). Since 2009, USDA has invested more than $126 million into projects targeting new and beginning farmers and ranchers through BFRDP.


With the average age of the American farmer exceeding 58 years, USDA recognizes the need to bring more people into agriculture. Through lending assistance programs, like the Farm Service Agency’s new microloan program, USDA prioritized support for new farmers, providing improved access to credit, land, and equipment. USDA has also provided greater access to quality crop insurance coverage to over 13,500 new and beginning farmers and ranchers with special crop insurance benefits designed just for them. More information on USDA’s assistance for beginning farmers and ranchers can be found at

BFRDP, administered through USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), supports educational programs to assist beginner farmers and ranchers who have less than 10 years of experience in the industry, including veterans and socially disadvantaged farmers. The program supports workshops, educational teams, training, and technical assistance throughout the U.S.

This year’s awards will be made in 27 states and the District of Columbia to help fund a range of projects by partner organizations. The grants include:

  • Calypso Farm and Ecology Center, Fairbanks, AK, $369,500
  • Arkansas Land and Community Development Corporation, Brinkley, AR, $481,080
  • ALBA Organics, Salinas, CA, $600,000
  • Colorado Economic Development Office, Denver, CO, $239,970
  • University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, $597,598
  • National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, Washington, D.C., $150,000
  • North-South Institute, Inc., Davie, FL, $330,828
  • The Kohala Center, Inc., Waimea, HI, $564,000
  • Jannus Inc., Boise, ID, $597,867
  • Angelic Organics Learning Center, Caledonia, IL, $600,000
  • National Farmers Organization, Ames, IA, $588,948
  • Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas, Overland Park, KS, $380,433
  • Wolfe`s Neck Farm Foundation, Inc., Freeport, ME, $573,256
  • Third Sector New England, Inc., Boston, MA, $249,657
  • Tufts University, Medford, MA, $599,796
  • Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, South Deerfield, MA, $595,533
  • Future Harvest Inc., Cockeysville, MD, $597,599
  • ECO City Farms, Edmonston, MD, $352,095
  • Minnesota Food Association, Marine St. Croix, MN, $159,626
  • Land Stewardship Project, Minneapolis, MN, $384,649
  • Stone Child College, Box Elder, MO, $265,179
  • National Center for Appropriate Technology, Butte, MT, $238,441
  • National Center for Appropriate Technology, Butte, MT, $231,679
  • Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, Asheville, NC, $600,000
  • Foundation for Agricultural and Resources Management, Medina, ND, $513,959
  • New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM, $598,030
  • National Young Farmers Coalition, Hudson, NY, $574,150
  • Just Food, New York, NY, $593,930
  • Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, Columbus, OH, $566,141
  • The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, $599,715
  • Southside Community Land Trust, Providence, RI, $596,517
  • Clemson University, Clemson, SC, $595,133
  • Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN, $470,083
  • Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, $600,000
  • National Immigrant Farming Initiative, El Paso, TX, $541,950
  • Greenbank Farm Management Group/Organic Farm School, Greenbank, WA, $598,850
  • Viva Farms, Mount Vernon, WA, $599,999

Abstracts for this year’s funded projects can be viewed on NIFA’s reporting website.


Agriculture Forums Announced

In order to build upon the strong foundation of programs available to new and beginning producers, Vilsack also announced a series of Fall Forums USDA will host in the coming months to highlight the progress made on the top issues facing the future of agriculture and set the stage for the next administration to continue to support a strong future for American agriculture. The series of USDA Fall Forums will be hosted in partnership with leading universities across the country. Each forum will focus on a pressing agricultural issue, including land tenure and the next generation of agriculture, climate change, export markets, local and regional food systems, and groundbreaking agricultural research. High-ranking USDA officials will lead the forums and facilitate discussions with regional stakeholders to lay the groundwork for the next Administration to build on the progress USDA has made over the past seven years.