The USDA announced last week the availability of $19.2 million in funds for groups that assist beginning farmers through training and other support initiatives. This is the first grant cycle of the newly reauthorized Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP), which is part of the 2014 Farm Bill signed into law in February. In total, Congress authorized BFRDP to make available $100 million for beginning farmer initiatives over the next five years.
Here’s what Minnesota U.S. House members who have worked to support numerous beginning farmer initiatives are saying about the announcement:
U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, House Agriculture Committee Member
“I see a lot of opportunities for beginning farmers in Minnesota. But we know there are a lot of barriers new farmers need to overcome. The grants offered through this program allow organizations to do the work needed to help new farmers overcome those barriers. We know it makes a difference and that’s why it was included in the Farm Bill.”
U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member
“We should use every tool available to encourage young people who want to enter agriculture and this program is a good investment in the next generation of farmers. I am proud that Congress recognized the unique challenges facing many beginning farmers by including this funding in the 2014 Farm Bill. This program allows organizations with expertise in new farming start-ups to connect with beginning farmers.”
U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, House Agriculture Committee Member
“One of the biggest challenges for young farmers and ranchers in Minnesota is getting the necessary resources and education to get their business off the ground — this program will help our entrepreneurs make that important first step. I’m proud to help the next generation of young farmers and ranchers pursue their dreams, and continue our long tradition of agriculture in Minnesota.”