National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)
NIFA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) was first authorized by the 2008 Farm Bill and then reauthorized by the Agricultural Act of 2014. USDA estimates that aid associated with BFRDP will be approximately $19.2 billion dollars in fiscal year 2014, and this funding will be directed to organizations and activities that support beginning farmers and ranchers. Organizations receiving funding priority include nongovernmental, community-based, and educational organizations having employees with expertise in training, assisting, and educating new agricultural producers. A portion of program funds will be directed to limited resource and socially disadvantaged beginning producers, farm workers with goals of becoming independent producers, and veterans interested in farming or ranching.
USDA has identified three types of eligible projects for BFRDP: 1) Standard Projects which address education, training, outreach, and assistance initiatives for beginning farmers and ranchers; 2) Educational Enhancement Projects that will help coordinate and evaluate Standard Projects; and 3) Curriculum and Training Clearinghouses that will disseminate curricula and training materials to program participants and the organizations that serve them.
USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) will award grants through a competitive process. The NIFA’s 2014 fiscal year Request for Application is available later this spring. These funds are available to organizations offering programs to assist beginning farmers and ranchers. Producers are only indirect beneficiaries of this program – they do not receive funds directly.
More information on NIFA’s BFRDP is available on the NIFA website.
S.D. Department of Agriculture Programs
Recognizing that beginning farmers and ranchers have needs that differ from those of established producers, South Dakota Department of Agriculture offers two innovative programs to benefit new producers. The first is called Farm Link. This program maintains a directory of farmers and ranchers designed to foster a mentor relationship between beginning and established producers. Through these connections, Farm Link helps new and beginning farmers and ranchers gain access to land, resources, support, and knowledge. The second program is called Beginning Farmer Bond. This program enables lenders, including individuals, partnership, and corporations, to receive interest payments that are exempt from federal taxes on loans made to beginning farmers and ranchers. Participating in this program may allow beginning producers an opportunity to receive loans at reduced interest rates.
More information on South Dakota Department of Agriculture’s Beginning Farmers and Ranchers program is available on the SDDA website.