The USDA has awarded grants to 40 organizations throughout the country to provide training and assistance to beginning farmers and ranchers that will help them run successful and sustainable farms.

"Beginning farmers and ranchers face unique challenges, and these efforts will help provide the training needed to ensure these producers become profitable and sustainable," said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. "As the average age of farmers today is 57 and continues to rise, we must do everything we can to recruit a new generation of people to produce our food. They will continue to play an important part of American agriculture as they feed people in their local communities and, in some cases, throughout the world."

USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded the grants through its Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). BFRDP is an education, training, technical assistance and outreach program designed to help U.S. farmers and ranchers, specifically those who have been farming or ranching for 10 years or fewer. Under the program, which was established through the 2008 farm bill, NIFA will make grants to organizations that will implement programs to help beginning farmers and ranchers.

BFRDP provided $18 million in funding this year. This is the second year of the program, and $18 million will be made available in fiscal years 2011 and 2012. In fiscal year 2009, BFRDP made 29 awards for approximately $17 million.

For more information on the BFRDP program, visit program.

Recipients of the fiscal year 2010 awards include:

  • Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Ala., $675,750
  • University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Alaska, $411,256
  • Arkansas Land and Farm Development Corporation, Brinkley, Ark., $355,412
  • University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Ark., $746,130
  • Tohono O'odham Community Action, Sells, Ariz., $747,200
  • Northern California Regional Land Trust, Inc., Chico, Calif., $49,605
  • Colorado Cattlemen's Association, Arvada, Colo., $30,000
  • First Nations Development Institute, Longmont, Colo., $252,535
  • Florida West Coast RC&D Council, Inc., Ellenton, Fla., $150,370
  • Earth Learning, Inc., Miami, Fla., $750,000
  • Mountain States Group, Inc., Boise, Idaho, $359,526
  • Practical Farmers of Iowa, Ames, Iowa, $560,998
  • Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas, Overland Park, Kan., $379,125
  • Tufts University, Boston, Mass., $749,014
  • Nuestras Raices, Inc., Holyoke, Mass., $740,131
  • Michigan State University, Lansing, Mich., $138,524
  • Communicating for America, Fergus Falls, Minn., $91,534
  • Land Stewardship Project, Minneapolis, Minn., $583,472
  • Winston County Self Help Cooperative, Louisville, Miss., $317,466
  • National Center for Appropriate Technology, Butte, Mont., $749,149
  • Land for Good, Keene, N.H., $547,307
  • Center for Rural Affairs, Lyons, Neb., $715,198
  • Groundswell Center for Food and Farming, Ithaca, N.Y., $349,873
  • Just Foods, Inc., New York, N.Y., $426,921
  • Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, Inc., Rochester, N.Y., $143,973
  • Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, Asheville N.C., $559,966
  • Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, $740,096
  • Oregon State University, Corvallis, Ore., $696,390
  • eDev, Eugene, Ore., $114,074
  • Gorge Grown Food Network, Hood River, Ore., $246,533
  • Clemson University, Clemson, S.C., $747,211
  • Federation of Southern Cooperative/Land Assistance Fund, Inc., Quinby, S.C., $577,166
  • Dakota Rural Action, Brookings, S.D., $132,200
  • South Dakota State University, Brookings, S.D., $748,892
  • Mitchell Technical Institute, Mitchell, S.D., $147,542
  • Texas A&M University Commerce, Commerce, Texas, $674,768
  • Utah State University, Logan, Utah, $748,109
  • Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va., $743,872
  • Grassworks, Inc., Seymour, Wisc., $96,690
  • Farley Center for Peace, Justice and Sustainability, Verona, Wisc., $146,825

Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. More information is at: www.nifa.usda.gov.