Vilsack Awards $17.8 Million to Next Generation of Farmers and Ranchers
August 19, 2016

In a meeting with new and beginning farmers at Iowa State University this week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a new investment of $17.8 million for 37 projects to help educate, mentor and enhance the sustainability of the next generation of farmers. The investment is made through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. Since 2009, USDA has invested more than $126 million into projects targeting new and beginning farmers and ranchers through BFRDP.

With the average age of the American farmer exceeding 58 years, USDA recognizes the need to bring more people into agriculture. USDA has engaged its resources to provide greater support to the farmers of the future by improving access to land and capital; building new markets and market opportunities; extending new conservation opportunities; offering appropriate risk management tools; and increasing outreach, education and technical support.

Through lending assistance programs, such as the Farm Service Agency's new microloan program, USDA prioritized support for new farmers, providing improved access to credit, land and equipment. USDA has also provided greater access to quality crop insurance coverage to more than 13,500 new and beginning farmers and ranchers with special crop insurance benefits designed just for them. Thanks to this program, beginning farmers and ranchers have saved more than $14 million in premiums and administrative fees. More information on USDA's assistance for beginning farmers and ranchers can be found at

Abstracts for this year's funded projects can be viewed at;BFRDA;BFRDB)%20AND%20(IY=2016)&format=WEBTITLESGIY.