The United States Department of Agriculture has announced $19.2 million in funding available to support training, education, outreach and mentoring for beginning farmers and ranchers, in entering and establishing their own successful farm and ranch enterprises.

The rising age of farmers is a concern for both Europe and the US, which is why the USDA has released specific funding to tackle this problem. USDA Secretary, Tom Vilsack, has voiced his support for small and midsized producers as “a vital part of America’s agricultural future, and we are dedicated to ensuring their success.”

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Funding priority will be given to partnerships and collaborations led by nongovernmental, community or school based agricultural organisations with a particular expertise in new agricultural training or outreach.

The programme will cover three types of projects: Standard Projects, for new and established local and regional training and educational initiatives; Educational Enhancement Projects, to help develop seamless beginning farmer and rancher education programmes; and Curriculum and Training Clearinghouse, to make educational curricula and training materials available to beginning farmers, ranchers and organisations.

Topics for programmes include basic livestock, forest management, and crop farming practices; entrepreneurship and business training; natural resource management and planning; mentoring, apprenticeships and internships; and diversification and marketing strategies.

The deadline for applications is the 12th June 2014. To apply, visit www.nifa.usda.gov

Images by United States Department of Agriculture 

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