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U.S. Department of Agriculture Chief Scientist Chavonda Jacobs-Young announced an investment of approximately $24 million into 45 organizations and institutions that teach and train beginning farmers and ranchers.
The investment is an extension of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture's Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, which supports a wide array of professional development activities covering multiple topics for new farmers and ranchers, including managing capital, acquiring and managing land and learning business and farming practices, according to a Nov. 15 news release.
“Investing in the professional development of our nation’s newest farmers and ranchers will help our food and agriculture sectors to flourish from the ground up,” Jacobs-Young, who serves as the USDA undersecretary for research, education, and economics, said in the release. “Strengthening and growing our next generation pipeline is vital to the continued success of American agriculture and prosperity of rural communities.”
NIFA Acting Director Dr. Dionne Toombs said farmers and ranchers just starting out have "unique needs for education, training, and technical assistance," the release reported.
"Their success, especially in the first 10 years, often hinges on access to reliable, science-based information and the latest educational resources so they can improve their operations’ profitability and sustainability long-term,” Toombs said in the release. “This investment will benefit a rising generation of beginning farmers and ranchers that truly reflect the tapestry of American agriculture and the many diverse communities we serve.”