$28M Available for Beginning Farmer & Rancher Development

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released its request for applications for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP), with individual grants ranging from $49,000 to $750,000. The primary goal of BFRDP is to help farmers and ranchers with less than ten years in operation enter and/or improve their successes through support for projects that provide education, mentoring, and technical assistance to give beginning farmers and ranchers the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to make informed decisions for their operations and enhance their sustainability.

What are the eligibility requirements? Applications may only be submitted by a collaborative state, tribal, local, or regionally based network or partnership of qualified public and/or private entities. These collaborations may include: State Cooperative Extension Services; Federal, State, municipal or tribal agencies; community-based organizations (CBOs); nongovernmental organizations (NGOs); junior and four-year colleges or universities or foundations maintained by a college or university; and private for-profit organizations.

What programs and services are eligible for BFRDP grants? BFRDP grants may fund programs or services relating to these priorities:

  • Basic livestock, forest management, and crop farming practices;
  • Innovative farm, ranch, and private, nonindustrial forest land transfer and succession strategies.
  • Entrepreneurship and business training;
  • Technical assistance to help beginning farmers or ranchers acquire land from retiring farmers and ranchers;
  • Financial and risk management training, including the acquisition and management of agricultural credit;
  • Natural resource management and planning;
  • Diversification and marketing strategies.
  • Curriculum development;
  • Mentoring, apprenticeships, and internships;
  • Resources and referral;
  • Farm financial benchmarking;
  • Agricultural rehabilitation and vocational training for veteran farmers and ranchers;
  • Farm safety and awareness;
  • Food safety and recordkeeping, and
  • Other similar subject areas of use to beginning farmers or ranchers such as: projects that address climate change with climate smart agriculture, food, and forestry solutions; improved nutritional security; and economic revitalization, particularly in socially disadvantaged communities. 

Who is the target audience for BFRDP Grants? The target audience for BFRDP is farmers and ranchers who have not operated a farm or ranch or have operated a farm or ranch for not more than ten years. BFRDP’s goal is to ensure that all individuals are fully trained after a three-year term of training. These fully trained individuals must be fully equipped with resources to sustainably own or lease a farm business operation.

In addition, a portion of BFRDP funding is set aside for projects that address the needs of two subsets of beginning farmers and ranchers: 1) at least five percent of the program funds available for standard BFRDP projects will be allocated to address the needs of limited resource beginning farmers and ranchers; socially disadvantaged beginning farmers or ranchers; and/or farm workers (including immigrants) desiring to become beginning farmers or ranchers and 2) at least five percent of the program funds available for standard BFRDP projects will be allocated to address the needs of beginning farmers and ranchers who are military veterans.

What project types will be funded?

  1. Standard BFRDP Projects and Simplified Standard Grants:
    • Standard BFRDP Projects: The long-term goals of the Standard BFRDP projects are to enhance the sustainability of beginning farmers and ranchers through education, training, mentoring and outreach programs that enhance self-employment in farming, ranching and forestry opportunities. The maximum award for a large standard grant is approximately $250,000 per year for up to three years; medium standard grants of no more than $175,000 per year for up to three years of project duration; small standard grants of no more than $100,000 per year for up to three years of project duration
    • Simplified Standard Grants: Simplified Standard Grants of $49,999 or less for one year of project duration are intended to assist organizations: 1) to sustain and enhance important collaborations and innovative activities relevant to beginning farmer and rancher programs; and 2) to initiate and develop beginning farmer and rancher project ideas to lead to future program success or success in obtaining other grants for beginning farmer and rancher education.
  2. Education Team Projects: The long-term goals of Education Team (ET) projects are to identify gaps in beginning farmer and rancher training by evaluating all existing programs, and to develop and conduct train-the-trainer projects to address these gaps. The maximum award for an ET project is approximately $250,000 per year for up to three years.

What is required for cost sharing? For FY 2023, BFRDP awardees must provide a match from non-Federal sources in the form of cash or in-kind contributions in an amount equal to 25 percent of the funds provided by the grant or cooperative agreement. However, NIFA may waive the matching funds requirement for a grant if NIFA determines that such a waiver or modification is necessary to effectively reach an underserved area or population.

What is the deadline to apply for BFRDP grants? Applicants must submit their applications on April 27, 2023 by 5:00 p.m. Eastern time.

The Request for Applications can be found here.

For more information on this program or how to apply with Morrison’s assistance, please contact the Morrison Grants Team by email at grants@morrisonco.net or call us at 530-893-4764.


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