Farmer Reviewers Needed for Beginning Farmer Program

grant funding for farming and food systems


Peer Reviewer Details
USDA’s National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) evaluates proposals for BFRDP, and a number of competitive grant programs, through peer-review panels.  In the past NIFA has established a couple of panels each year for the BFRDP which are comprised of farmers and ranchers, practitioners, CBO/NGO representatives, academic personnel, agency staff as well as others.

Why serve on a BFRDP review panel?  It is vitally important to provide a good selection of potential review panel members — these are the people who will read and evaluate proposals with guidance from NIFA.  It is also a fantastic way to get a better understanding of what makes for good proposals.

What’s the time commitment and travel requirements? Panelists will need to review between 15-20 proposals.  It will take about one hour to two hours to review each proposal/application.  Members of the review panel will be required to attend a training webinar (approx. 1 hour) and travel to Washington D.C. to attend a panel meeting (3-4 days long) either late May or early June of 2015.  All travel including lodging and a per diem for meals will be provided by USDA.  USDA also provides an honorarium of $225/day for days the panel meets in Washington D.C.

Can I serve on the review panel if I’ve also submitted a proposal? Yes, as long as you are not directly involved in the project.  BFRDP will have two review panels, so if chosen for the panel, you would either leave the room when your organization’s proposal was discussed or it would be addressed by the other panel.

How to nominate yourself to serve on the BFRDP review panel
1.  Send an email to with “reviewer” in the subject line.  In the e-mail, include your contact information (organization, address, email, phone); a brief description of your areas of expertise or experience related to beginning farmers and ranchers; and whether or not you plan to be a participant on a proposal this round.

2.  Your email will be followed up with a response from BFRDP program staff with further instructions on how to register.  Instructions will likely include registering in the NIFA Peer Review System (PRS) by going to this website:;jsessionid=70445A576DA8A526155DB0203A573A98?page=create

3.  You can also email the BFRDP National Program Leader, Jill Auburn,, for more information on what is required of peer reviewers before volunteering to serve on the panel.

* Note, just because you register doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily be a on the review panel.  NIFA will determine the number of reviews needed once the Request for Applications is released.

Deadline to nominate yourself as a BFRDP review panel member is next Friday, April 3rd.

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