Beginning farmer education for adult and young audiences in the United States can generally be traced back to the advent of the 1862 and 1890 Morrill Land Grant Acts. But for the first time, the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Pub .L. No. 110-234, Section 7410) appropriated $75 million for FY 2009 to FY 2012 to develop and offer education, training, outreach and mentoring programs to enhance the sustainability of the next generation of farmers. The reasons for the renewed interest in beginning farmer and rancher programs are as follows: the rising average age of U.S. farmers; the 8% projected decrease in the number of farmers and ranchers between 2008 and 2018; and the growing recognition that new programs are needed to address the needs of the next generation of beginning farmers and ranchers.
For more information, visit nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/beginning-farmer-and-rancher-development-program-bfrdp.