Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan recently announced that USDA has awarded 36 grants totaling $18 million to organizations that will provide training and assistance to beginning farmers and ranchers to help them run successful and sustainable farms.
The grants will go to groups in 21 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands that can help people who want to go into farming but do not know much about the business or marketing side.
“You can’t just love the soil. You have to love the accounting and books as well,” Merrigan said in a call to reporters today.
Merrigan noted that USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) awarded the grants through its Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, established through the 2008 farm bill. Although a lot of the focus is on young farmers, Merrigan noted that USDA defines beginning farmers as anyone who has been in farming or ranching for 10 years or less, and that many people want to make farming a second career.
Projects were awarded in Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
The Latino Farmers Cooperative of Louisiana, New Orleans, received $103,700. This project will address priority-training needs of Latino farmers, including production and management strategies, business management and decision support strategies and marketing strategies.
For further detail, please visit: National Institute of Food and Agriculture FY 2011 Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Grants
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