The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program is a competitive grants program that provides funds for nongovernmental organizations, schools and other approved entities to create developmental programs to help train new farmers and ranchers in the skills needed for their professions. The United States Department of Agriculture runs the program.
The program ensures that funds are available to help teach both young farmers and inexperienced older workers who wish to become farmers and ranchers the necessary skills to work in these important fields. Funding helps pay for lessons in livestock and forest management, business training and mentoring or internships. Only collaborative organizations working with the USDA are eligible for funding. This includes area or tribal-based networks of public or private organizations. The ultimate arbiter of funding eligibility under the program is the Secretary of Agriculture.
The BFRDP offers to fund standard projects that address the basic needs of new farmers and ranchers, educational projects that help streamline standard projects or other beginning farmer projects not currently receiving funding under the program, as well as clearinghouse projects for curriculum and training materials to ensure trainers and students have the tools they need for education. The competitive grants process is handled by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture division of the USDA.