Beginning Farmer & Rancher Development Program: Nuturing the Next Generation

Despite our displeasure with the passage of a farm bill that lacks real payment limitations and other crucial reforms, there is a clear victory in gaining passage and dedicated funding for the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.
It is daunting for aspiring farmers and ranchers to enter agriculture. New farmers and ranchers need assistance on many different levels to enter successfully. The 2008 Farm Bill includes the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program that can help give beginning farmers and ranchers a leg up in starting their operations.  The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program is a competitive grants program designed to support financial and entrepreneurial training, mentoring programs, linkage programs that connect retiring and new farmers, innovative farm transfer and transition practices, and education and outreach activities to assist beginning farmers and ranchers access new farming opportunities.  Our experience has taught us that the most promising prospects for beginners can be found in niche markets composed of consumers willing to pay premium prices for unique products raised in ways they support. This program will support those educational opportunities that help beginners develop business and conservation plans that enable them to develop these markets and protect our natural resources through sustainable farming practices. With the farm bill complete, our attention turns to ensuring this program and others are put into practice correctly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information contact Traci Bruckner, tracib@cfra.org or call (402) 687-2103, Ext. 1016 .

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