The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program aims to help new entrepreneurs who want to get into these fields with education and financial assistance.
Opportunities like this have been available since the mid-1800s, but the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 allocated over $75 million toward these efforts. Most recently, The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (the 2018 Farm Bill) also added to these opportunities, so now anyone who wants to get into ranching and farming and qualifies for the service can draw from the resources available through these programs
According to the USDA, the qualifications are: “The recipient must be a collaborative, state, tribal, local, or regionally-based network or partnership of public or private entities, which may include: state cooperative extension service; community-based and nongovernmental organization; college or university (including institutions awarding associate degrees); or any other appropriate partner. Others may be eligible to apply.”
Those interested in learning more need to move quickly; the application process ends on April 27. But, if approved, the USDA estimates that applicants can receive anywhere from $49,000 to $750,000. It also estimates that only 25 percent of applications receive funding, but its total funding for everyone approved will be somewhere in the ballpark of $28 million.