Grants to Support Beginning Farmer Development, 2012

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) Grants for 2012. Announcement of grant awards for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program for 2012. On August 30th, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced more than $18 million in grants to organizations across 24 states that will help beginning farmers and ranchers with the training and resources needed to run productive, sustainable farms. The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) is a competitive grants program that supports research and program develop aimed at beginning farmer education and promotion. The Program, initiated in the 20o8 Farm Bill, has been highly successful, and is a (relatively) cheap farm bill item compared to many others, and considering the importance of developing new farmers at a time of aging farm population and and decreasing numbers of non-hobby farms. Grants support programs focused on new farmer training and promotion. Unfortunately, the uncertainty surrounding passage of the 2012 farm bill threatens further funding for the program, which many beginning farmer advocates believe should be increased. The glaring need for developing programs which assist in new farmer entry has been highlighted repeatedly by policy-makers, agricultural activists, educators, as well as beginning and aspiring farmers themselves as young people's interest in farming continues to grow.

And a modest expansion of the program was proposed in a Bipartisan Bill this past summer in order to include support for beginning farmer training programs aimed at Military Veterans, microloan programs for aspiring farmers, and much more. Yet House leaders have refused to bring a farm bill package to a floor vote, despite the fact that it was passed by the House Agriculture Committee on a strong bipartisan vote. What this means, is that funding for the successful and much needed program would not only fail to to grow even modestly at a time of great need, but is in danger of not being funded at all in 2013, since current provisions expire on September 30th of this year. To learn more about BFRDP go to: http://www.nifa.usda.gov/fo/beginningfarmerandrancher.cfm To see the list of 2012 awardees from 24 states go to: http://www.nifa.usda.gov/newsroom/news/2012news/bfrdp_award_descriptions.html And to learn more about taking action to demand the passage of a new farm bill before the current one expires, go to: http://www.farmbillnow.com/

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