This post was written and originally published by the Land Stewardship Project, a farmer-based NSAC member organization.
This week, the Land Stewardship Project (LSP) released their annual report on grants allocated through the USDA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). Completed now for the fifth year, in collaboration with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), these annual progress reports are a measure of the success of BFRDP in providing public support for effective training, education, and assistance for beginning farmers and ranchers throughout the United States.
LSP has long made beginning farmer training and education a top priority, both through their Farm Beginnings program, and in their priorities for public policy change. They believe that, with a lot of hard work, there is opportunity in agriculture, and that smart, cost-effective public policy can provide support to beginning farmers that can be instrumental to their success.
Starting from that conviction, LSP, working with NSAC’s policy team and other NSAC member organizations, helped lead a nationwide effort that led to the passage and funding of progressive beginning farmer policies in the 2008 Farm Bill. The creation of BFRDP was a result of that hard work, that since 2009 has been an important tool in supporting the next generation of American farmers. The program remains the only federal program exclusively dedicated to training new farmers.