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Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP)

Funding education, extension, outreach and technical assistance initiatives

Program Basics
The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) is a competitive grant program administered by the Cooperative State Education and Extension Service (CSREES) that funds education, extension, outreach, and technical assistance initiatives directed at helping beginning farmers and ranchers of all types.

While the BFRDP was first authorized in the 2002 Farm Bill, it never received funding during the annual appropriations process. With the 2008 Farm Bill, the BFRDP now has mandatory funding to operate as an annual competitive grant program.

The BFRDP is targeted especially to collaborative local, state, and regionally based networks and partnerships to support financial and entrepreneurial training, mentoring, and apprenticeship programs, as well as "land link" programs that connect retiring with new farmers, innovative farm transfer and transition practices, and education, outreach, and curriculum development activities to assist beginning farmers and ranchers. Topics may also include production practices, conservation planning, risk management education, diversification and marketing strategies, environmental compliance, credit management, and so on.

Eligibility, Uses, and Restrictions
Applicants for the BFRDP must be collaborative state, tribal, local, or regionally-based networks or partnerships of public and private groups. Networks or partnerships may include: community-based organizations, non-governmental organizations; cooperative extension; relevant USDA and state agencies; and community colleges. These networks or partnerships in turn use the BFRDP funding to provide the training and assistance to beginning farmers and ranchers.

The BFRDP sets aside 25 percent of the yearly funds for projects serving limited resource and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, including minority, immigrant, and women farmers and ranchers, as well as farmworkers desiring to become farmers in their own right.

Application and Financial Information
BFRDP grants have a term of 3 years and cannot exceed $250,000 a year. Eligible recipients can receive consecutive grants and must provide a cash or in-kind contribution match that is equal to 25 percent of the grant funds provided. Projects funded can serve farmers who are not beginning farmers, provided that the primary purpose of the project is fostering beginning farmer opportunities.


Contact Information
S. Sureshwaran

Last Updated January 26, 2010

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