A Texas seminar designed to help young people return to the family farm is one of four programs recently awarded grant money by the Farm Credit System Foundation. The foundation is also providing a total of $65,000 in funding to an education program for small-sized forestry operations, the 4-H World Congress, and the National FFA Organization.

"The foundation works with organizations that are helping agriculture's next generation of producers," says John Hays, Farm Credit System Foundation vice president. "We have confidence that these organizations are making a difference for agriculture's future in the United States."

Among the grant recipients is a program designed by Danny Klinefelter through the Texas Extension Education Foundation. "Planning the Return to the Farm" is a seminar designed to ease the next generation's transition into the family farming operation. Under the program, young people and their parents attend seminar sessions for one-year prior to the young person returning to the farm business.

"Texas A&M is very pleased that the Farm Credit System Foundation has chosen to support the development of this program," says Klinefelter. "The objective will be to address the issues and alternatives that need to be discussed and worked out in order to avoid the financial and relationship problems that often occur in family businesses."

The foundation is providing $40,000 for this effort and is the sole sponsor. Once developed, the program material will be made available nationally for replication throughout the Cooperative Extension Service and to other parties.

A $20,000 grant has been awarded to the Cooperative Development Foundation's WoodWorks by the Farm Credit System Foundation. This program targets small woodlot owners throughout the United States by providing education on maximizing their returns through proper stewardship.

"The Farm Credit System Foundation is helping us reach more owners of small woodlots, and we are pleased they are supporting us again this year," says E.G. Nadeau, WoodWorks' director.

The foundation also approved $5,000 of continuing support in 2003 for the 4-H World Congress and $32,000 for the National FFA Organization in 2004. The 4-H Congress educates youth interested in agriculture. The foundation is one of a number of national organizations that support young producers seeking the American farmer degree granted by the FFA.

"Both programs provide valuable information and experiences for the next generation of producers," Hays says.

"Farm Credit System institutions and individuals affiliated with Farm Credit donated funds to the foundation for our grant-making," Hays says. "These organizations and individuals are committed to the vision of a developing a strong future of farming and ranching in America."

The Farm Credit System Foundation, Inc., is a nonprofit organization that helps young, beginning and small farmers to be successful by supporting educational and research activities. The Farm Credit System is rural America's customer-owned partner providing credit, related services, and programs to farmers, ranchers, cooperatives and others in rural America including young, beginning, and small producers. The Farm Credit System Foundation is an extension of this partnership with a national focus.