USDA Announces Grants For Beginning Farmers

Expanded grant program will provide resources for farmers in 24 states

Published on: Aug 30, 2012

At the Farm Progress Show in Boone, Iowa, Secretary Tom Vilsack announced expanded USDA efforts to assist beginning farmers and ranchers develop productive, sustainable farms.

USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture awarded the grants through its Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program established through the 2008 Farm Bill. More than $18 million in grant money will go to organizations in 24 states.

"I'm certainly optimistic about the importance of this program and the ability to get to more people," Vilsack said in a conference call Thursday. "I think we need to continue to recognize the challenges."

USDA makes BFRDP grants to organizations that implement education, training, technical assistance and outreach programs to help beginning farmers and ranchers, specifically those who have been farming or ranching for 10 years or fewer. At least 25% of the program's funding supports the needs of limited resource and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, as well as farm workers who want to get a start in farming and ranching.

Expanded grant program will provide resources for farmers in 24 states
Expanded grant program will provide resources for farmers in 24 states

This year marks the fourth year of the program. The USDA says future funding is dependent on congressional reauthorization.

Today's announcement is not the first time Vilsack has addressed ways to get new people involved in agriculture. In testimony before the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry in 2010, the Secretary reminded Congress of the need to attract thousands of new producers in the coming years as American farmers and ranchers continue to age.

Today, Vilsack said he was interested in additional ways to help, including Congress' action toward income tax issues. He said he was looking at new ways to help beginning farmers through those policies.

"As congress returns and as they deal with vexing tax issues, there's an opportunity to deal with the estate tax issue…and also potentially looking at ways the income tax system could be used to encourage and incent beginning farmers," Vilsack said.

Vilsack said today's announcement was just one of the many programs that have helped or will help beginning farmers get started.

"I think this is an important part of the process," Vilsack said as he reminded conference participants about the microloan process and the land contract guarantee.

"There are a lot of folks that are willing to sell land on a long-term contract and I think would be more comfortable doing so if they knew that that land was backed or guaranteed by USDA, so that's why we announced an expansion of that program earlier this year," he said.

Additional programs for beginning farmers and ranchers include risk management education for new producers and online resources such as and the Know Your Farmer Compass.

For more information about the BFRDP program, visit

Add Comment
  1. Anonymous says:

    Really would like to find the names of the 24 states for this grant money.

  2. Anonymous says:

    ;why did we the gov want to get rid of some 3 million young farmers in the 80s with that dairy bonanza program , and that grain storage call in of 86 for cival war prices by the big grain conglomerates .and on and on. 17.5% intrest on all borrowed money. on dollar wheat and corn 42 cent cattle 12 cent hogs . my great grand father recieved 17 cent more for his northern wheat in 1882 that I sold my wheat for in 1988. with 21 % intrest. and they wonder why there are no young farmer any more!!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is just Ice Cream traded for bigger Government.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Very skeptical of how well this program is managed. The KeepsEagle case has been settled, yet as a 3 generation rancher, I applied for a ag and ranch loan, last spring. What I found was the USDA loan agent looked for anything he could to deny me a loan. I had over 500 acres of grazing and farm land available to me, yet they turned me down. As a American Indian woman rancher, it's sad to doubt programs like this one because all I witnessed was a lot of loans going to the farm workers, yet Indians still experience what I went through. It won't stop me from applying again though.

  5. Anonymous says:

    This title is very misleading. The grants are given to educational agencies, not local farmers.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Which specific "organizations" will be getting the money? That's the $18 million question! Yes -- get rid of the farm welfare. Otherwise the government ends up deciding what we can plant and ultimately, what we can eat. Also consider that the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture helped out Nazi Germany with eugenics so there's another dept. that should be excised! If Americans planted hemp "from sea to shining sea" as the Founders urged, we could literally grow our way back to freedom and prosperity. Thanks for posting this and grow 'em if you got 'em!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Register your farm and garden so in an "emergency" they know where to go to gather it all up for the "common good".

  8. Anonymous says:

    The less intervention from government in farming, the better. Quit subsidizing, pumping tax dollars into it, putting higher government restrictions on domestic products (but leaving foreign imports unmolested and able to produce cheaper, putting our farmers out of business). If you want to do something useful for American producers, get rid of &!$@#^ NAFTA and tax the living bejesus out of imports!!! Traditional farmers DON'T WANT GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE, we are self sustaining and most too proud to take it. It'll just be sucked up by corrupt middle men and corporate players.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Because its a election year and the Bastards want to get re-elected.

  10. Anonymous says:

    So basically. 17.5 billion will be siphoned off to Monsanto owned companies. and you ll hear about how great this program helped 1 or 2 farmers/rachers increase their stock by 5%.

  11. Anonymous says:

    For more information about the BFRDP program, visit

  12. Anonymous says:

    If you are a White Cracker , you ain't gonna get it.

  13. Anonymous says:

    My Great grand father was a farmer, my grandfather was a farmer, my father was a farmer. I only do a little farming. My father lost the farm in foreclosure at the end of the Bush reign. I later found out that we could've gotten it back within 3 years, 2 yrs too late. I live in Oklahoma would move to any of the states that would be willing to receive this such aid and move my family too. We work as a team.

  14. Anonymous says:

    What states is this availiable in?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Does anyone else question why if this program was established with 2008 ag bill, they are just announcing it this year?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Where do I find a listing of the 24 states?

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