Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program

Funding Agency:
US Department of Agriculture

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 Agriculture Act of 2014 provided an additional $20 million per year for 2014 through 2018. 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.

The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (aka the 2018 Farm Bill) reauthorized the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program and provides mandatory funds for which supports education, mentoring, and technical assistance initiatives for beginning farmers and ranchers.

The funding is $15 million a year for Fiscal Years (FY) 2019 and 2020, $17.5 million for FY 2021, $20 million for FY 2022, and $25 million for FY2023.

The primary goal of BFRDP is to help beginning farmers and ranchers in the U.S. and its territories enter and/or improve their successes in farming, ranching, and management of nonindustrial private forest lands, through support for projects that provide education, mentoring, and technical assistance to give beginning farmers and ranchers the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to make informed decisions for their operations, and enhance their sustainability. The term “farmer” is used in the broadest sense and may be interpreted to include agricultural farmers, ranchers, and non-industrial private forest owners and managers. Applications from partnerships and collaborations that are led by or include nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations (CBOs), and school-based agricultural educational organizations (SAEOs) with expertise in new agricultural producer training and outreach will be given priority in funding.


  • FY 2019: May 16, 2019
  • FY 2020: February 13, 2020

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Applications may only be submitted by a collaborative state, tribal, local, or regionally-based network or partnership of qualified public and/or private entities. These collaborations may include the following entities: State Cooperative Extension Services; Federal, State, or tribal agencies; community based organizations (CBOs); nongovernmental organizations (NGOs); junior and four-year colleges or universities or foundations maintained by a college or university; and private for-profit organizations. Inclusion of beginning and/or non-beginning farmers and ranchers as part of the collaborative group is strongly encouraged. 

Applications submitted by individuals, or by organizations that do not involve other entities in a network or partnership, are not eligible for consideration under any category applicable to the BFRDP and will be excluded from review. 

Multiple awards will not be made to the same organization or Project Director in the same calendar year. Further, organizations that have received a standard grant in the last two funding cycles (FY 2017 or FY 2018) are ineligible to apply for FY 2019 funding. For FY 2020, organizations that have received awards in FY 2018 or FY 2019, are ineligible to apply. ET awards and the Clearinghouse award are exempt from this restriction. An organization with a current ET award may receive a standard grant, and an organization with a current standard grant may receive one (1), but no more than one, concurrent ET grant. 

Amount Description

See full solicitation for details.

Funding Type





Community Outreach and Engagement
Environmental & Life Sciences

External Deadline

February 13, 2020