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Recent posts by Wyatt Fraas

60,000 beginning farmers benefit from USDA program

Interest in farming is strong. We hear from beginners, as well as retiring farmers and ranchers, each day who are looking for opportunities and searching for solutions to farm transition.

The 2008 farm bill introduced USDA’s first, and so far only, program focused on the next generation of farmers: the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.

Successful USDA program aids beginning farmers

The 2008 farm bill introduced U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) first – and so far only – program focused on the next generation of farmers: the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. The Center for Rural Affairs was a leader in designing, writing, and winning the program. A new report documents the success of the program in offering training opportunities to new farmers and ranchers.

The report, “Cultivating the Next Generation,” was released by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition in October 2017 as the first evaluation of the program’s impacts.

Cultural connection to food has been lost

Prior to European colonization efforts, the Santee Sioux people in northeast Nebraska were a “food sovereign” nation – they existed in a closed loop system in which they provided for themselves, by their own efforts, from their own land, and without dependence on outside governments and systems. By producing and preserving their own food, the people ensured they had access to abundant sources of healthy food year round.

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