CDFA Announces Beginning Farmer & Farmworker Training Grant Program

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is accepting applications for the Beginning Farmer and Farmworker Training and Workforce Development Grant Program (BFFTP). Applicants may apply for two types of awards in this program: program planning and curriculum development grants of up to $100,000; or program implementation grants up to $1,000,000 for beginning farmer training and farmworker training and workforce development programs. Grant applications are due August 1, 2022.

What is the purpose of BFFTP?
BFFTP is a new grant program funded through the 2021 California general fund budget. This program will provide support to organizations to enhance or expand beginning farmer and farmworker training/apprenticeship programs. The overall goal of the program is to ensure that resources are dedicated to strengthening support for socially disadvantaged and/or beginning farmers and ranchers in the first ten years of business, and farmworkers who need job skills training to provide job sustainability. A secondary goal of the program is to build and grow regional networks to ensure organizations can provide adequate support and training opportunities for those most underserved in the agriculture industry.
Who is eligible to apply for BFFTP?
The following entities are eligible to apply for this program: Non-profit organizations, Tribal governments, and community colleges. Community colleges are eligible as co-applicants with local partner organizations. Entities applying must have demonstrated expertise in assisting socially disadvantaged, small-scale farmers, farmworkers and in workforce development programs. The CDFA encourages applications from organizations who serve small to medium sized and socially disadvantaged California ag producers and farmworkers, including but not limited to BIMPOC (Black, Indigenous, Multiracial, and People of Color), LGBTQ+, women and veterans.
What projects are eligible for this funding? 
  • Track 1: Program Planning and Curriculum Development Grants

This program provides direct support for existing or new programs to fully develop their programs serving beginning farmers OR farmworker training and workforce development program, establish partnerships, seek accreditation from the California Division of Apprenticeship Standards (if applicable), land tenure (either land lease or purchase) and design curriculum. This track is for organizations who would like to formalize or expand the reach of existing programs and need assistance during the phase of program planning or curriculum development. Each applicant organization can apply for a maximum amount of $100,000 in this track. This track also prioritizes programs that are developing local or regional partnerships that will support beginning farmers and farmworkers to be successful. This track aims to prepare organizations to successfully apply for larger grants and build capacity to serve a region’s beginning farmers and/or farmworkers through training and workforce development for the agriculture industry.

  • Track 2: Program Implementation: Beginning Farmer Training Program

The Program Implementation track (beginning farmers) provides support for eligible entities to apply for funds to support a beginning farmer training grant in the amount of up to $1,000,000. The priority for this track will be funding for infrastructure, tool lending libraries, land tenure (either land lease or purchase), regional networking opportunities and apprenticeships (including stipends). Priority will be given to organizations serving socially disadvantaged and small-scale farmers and ranchers and applications with demonstrated partnerships and demonstrated ability to continue the program beyond the funding period.

  • Track 3: Program Implementation: Farmworker Training and Workforce Development Program

The Program Implementation (farmworker training) track provides support for eligible entities to apply for funds to support development of farmworker training and workforce development program in the amount of up to $1,000,000. There are several priorities within this track.

  1. Regional collaborations that focus on job skills training, paid apprenticeships, education, and agricultural technology training for farmworkers not currently eligible for Federal Dept of Labor and and/or programs funded through Section 167 of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and National Farmworker Jobs Program (NFJP). Organizations currently receiving funding through these programs are eligible to apply for the BFFTP program and will need to demonstrate how BFFTP funding will expand currently programming to focus on agricultural careers and those not currently served through Federal programs.
  2. Farmworker workforce development programs with curriculum and instruction tailored towards serving the unique cultural and language needs in the farmworker agricultural sector and providing advanced skills training needed to advance to a higher skilled job in the ag sector. Examples of trainings might include new ag technology, ag centered certification programs, training in IPM or organic management practices, irrigation systems or industry-specific skills training such as vineyard management.
  3. There will be a geographic preference and priority for projects in areas with high concentrations of farmworkers (Central Valley, Coachella Valley, Imperial Valley, Central Coast, Southern California), A secondary priority of this track is programs that target job upskilling for agricultural workers who have lost jobs due to climate change, drought, or other natural disasters.
What is the funding and duration of the program?
The CDFA anticipates up to $10 million for the BFFTP, of which approximately $5 million would be available in Fiscal Year 2021-2022 and $5 million in Fiscal Year 2022-2023. Applicants may apply for two types of awards: Program planning and curriculum development grants of up to $100,000, or program implementation grants up to $1,000,000 for both farmer training and farmworker training programs. One additional round of funding will be available for $5,000,000 for FY 2022-2023.

The 2022 BFFTP request for applications (RFA) can be found here.

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


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