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Beginning Farmer Rancher Development Program (BFRDP)

Grants to USA Nonprofits, For-Profits, IHEs, and
Agencies to Educate New Farmers and Ranchers

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Funding Source:

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U.S. Department Of Agriculture (USDA) - National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

02/08/18 5:00 PM ET Receipt


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Grants to USA and territories nonprofits, for-profits, IHEs, and government agencies for collaborative efforts to deliver mentoring, education, and technical assistance programs to beginning ranchers and farmers. Certain applicants are strongly encouraged to contact program staff prior to applying. Applicants are advised that required registrations may take up to two weeks to complete.

The purpose of this program is to assist ranchers and farmers throughout the country with entering, establishing, building and managing successful farm and ranch enterprises.

Programs and services (as appropriate) include the following:
A. Basic livestock, forest management, and crop farming practices;
B. Innovative farm, ranch, and private, nonindustrial forest land transfer strategies;
C. Entrepreneurship and business training;
D. Financial and risk management training (including the acquisition and management of agricultural credit);
E. Natural resource management and planning;
F. Diversification and marketing strategies;
G. Curriculum development;
H. Mentoring, apprenticeships, and internships;
I. Resources and referral;
J. Farm financial benchmarking;
K. Assisting beginning farmers or ranchers in acquiring land from retiring farmers and ranchers;
L. Agricultural rehabilitation and vocational training for veterans;
M. Farm safety and awareness; and
N. Other similar subject areas of use to beginning farmers or ranchers.

Section 7405(d) of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (7 U.S.C. 3319f(d)) requires the Secretary of Agriculture to establish beginning farmer and rancher education teams to develop curricula and conduct educational programs and workshops for beginning farmers or ranchers in diverse geographical areas of the United States.

Purpose and Priorities:

The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program is aligned with the USDA Research, Education, and Economics Action Plan and specifically addresses Goal 6 – Education and Science Literacy, by providing educational and training opportunities to beginning farmers and ranchers. BFRDP is aligned with the NIFA Strategic plan and specifically addresses Strategic Goal 1 (Science), by advancing our ability to fight hunger and ensure global food security.

The primary goal of BFRDP is to help beginning farmers and ranchers in the U.S. and its territories to enter and/or improve their success in farming, ranching, and management of nonindustrial private forest lands, through support for projects that provide education, mentoring, and technical assistance to give beginning farmers the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to make informed decisions for their operations, and enhance their sustainability. The term “farmer” is used in the broadest sense and should be interpreted to include agricultural farmers, ranchers, and non-industrial private forest owners and managers. Applications from partnerships and collaborations that are led by or include nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations (CBOs), and school-based agricultural educational organizations (SAEOs) with expertise in new agricultural producer training and outreach will be given priority in funding.

1. Target Audience:

The target audience for BFRDP is farmers and ranchers who have not operated a farm or ranch, or have operated a farm or ranch for not more than ten (10) years. In addition, a portion of BFRDP funding is targeted set aside for projects that address the needs of two (2) subsets of beginning farmers and ranchers:

A. At least five percent (5%) of the program funds available for standard BFRDP projects will be allocated to address the needs of limited resource beginning farmers and ranchers; socially disadvantaged beginning farmers or ranchers; and/or farm workers (including immigrants) desiring to become beginning farmers or ranchers.

B. At least five percent (5%) of the program funds available for standard BFRDP projects will be allocated to address the needs of beginning farmers and ranchers who are military veterans. A recipient of such a grant may coordinate with a recipient of a grant from the AgrAbility program in addressing the needs of veteran farmers and ranchers with disabilities.

Please note: Not all applications need to address the needs of these two (2) subsets of the beginning farmers and ranchers.

Priority may be given to applications that address any of the two (2) subsets, if necessary to achieve the targets, by awarding funding to the highest-ranked proposals that meet the set-aside.

A. For applications to be considered under any of the two (2) subsets, they must: Identify the target audience of any of the groups identified above and state what percentage of the project budget will be allocated to serving these group(s);

B. Explain how the beginning farmers and ranchers in the identified target audience will be recruited and provided with appropriate training, education, outreach and mentoring;

C. Provide evidence of the ability to serve the needs of the identified audience, e.g., involvement of partner(s) with expertise and a strong track record of having previously done so.

2. Priority Topics for FY 2018:

To achieve program goals, BFRDP projects will be expected to conduct training and assistance for beginning farmers and ranchers on one (1) or more of the topics listed in the RFA. Applicants should carefully consider the topics that will be addressed by the proposed project, i.e., clearly identify the topics in the project narrative, and why those topics are the most appropriate for the project’s audience. Evidence of farmer input on topic selection is very important. Applicants should make use of existing curriculum (whether USDA funded or not), including entries in the BFRDP curriculum and training clearinghouse: New curriculum should be proposed only if the need can be clearly justified. Applications that seek to develop coursework for credit for four-year degrees at colleges and universities are not appropriate for this program and will not be accepted for review. Applications that seek to educate students for careers in agriculture other than as farmers or ranchers will not be accepted for review.

NIFA is soliciting applications for the BFRDP under the following areas: (1) Standard Grants and/or (2) Educational Enhancement Teams (EETs).

1) Standard Grants

Both small and large standard BFRDP projects support new and established local and regional training, education, outreach and technical assistance initiatives for beginning farmers and ranchers, on the priority topics. They differ in their scale. Most of the funding in the BFRDP will be directed to Standard Grants. The primary goal of Standard Grants is to increase the number of beginning farmers and ranchers and enhance their success and sustainability by providing them and their families with the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to make informed decisions. Standard Grant applications are expected to identify the audience of beginning farmers and ranchers they aim to serve; describe their characteristics and needs; demonstrate knowledge and experience in educational and assistance methods that are appropriate and effective in engaging the audience and meeting their needs; and propose an ambitious yet achievable plan of work that will accomplish meaningful and measurable success in enhancing the number and success of beginning farmers and ranchers. Most successful standard grant applicants provide training and assistance with business and financial management, as well as production and marketing topics aligned with the priority list.

Small and large standard grants will be reviewed by the same panel, but will be discussed as two (2) different groups and ranked separately within each group to provide equitable evaluation. Both large and small proposals will be evaluated using the same evaluation criteria, including priority for partnerships and collaborations that are led by or include nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), community-based organizations (CBOs), or school-based agricultural educational organizations (SAEOs) with expertise in beginning agricultural producer training and outreach. The expectations for smaller projects, however, will be commensurate with their size (e.g., smaller audiences, more limited geographic reach, less complex collaborative arrangements) and provide an opportunity for smaller or less experienced organizations to propose projects that have smaller budgets and less complex administration.

2) Educational Enhancement Teams (EET)

The purpose of an Educational Enhancement Team (EET) grant is to enhance beginning farmer efforts based on a particular topic, region, or audience. Such applications should complement previously-funded EETs, which have addressed environmental management and leadership, regional networks, farmer-to-farmer curricula, financial management, and individual development accounts; as well as currently active EETs, which are addressing immigrant farming incubators, land access, women farmers, apprenticeships, and the Farm Beginnings curriculum. EETs should involve educational teams of experts with diverse backgrounds (e.g., NGO, CBO, SAEO, farmers, university, government) to:

(1) Identify, collect, and assess existing curricula and programs;
(2) Identify gaps and develop and deliver curricula and train-the-trainer programs to fill the identified gaps; and
(3) Collaborate with the BFRDP Clearinghouse and BFR education providers to enhance successful use of the EET curricula and programs.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 151418

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Expected Number of Awards: 35

Estimated Size of Grant:

The maximum award for a Standard Grant is $200,000 per year, for up to three years.

The maximum award for an Educational Enhancement Team is $200,000 per year, for up to three years.

Requesting funding for any project work, Standard or EET for less than $100,000 total for a project duration is strongly discouraged.

Term of Contract:

The maximum award for a Standard Grant is three (3) years. All work must be completed within three (3) years. Extensions of time beyond the three (3) years will not be permitted.

The maximum award for an Educational Enhancement Team three (3) years. EETs are awarded for up to three (3) years, and may continue into a fourth (4th) year with a one-year no- cost extension of time.


  • Agency of the county or other local government
  • Community-based Organizations; CBO(s)
  • Domestic public or private and non-profit entities
  • For profit organizations other than small businesses
  • Indian tribal governments and organizations (American Indian/Alaskan Native/Native American)
  • Institutions of Higher Education; IHE(s)
  • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS
  • Private sector organizations
  • Regional Organizations
  • See RFP and/or Grant Guidelines for full eligibility
  • Small businesses
  • U.S. Territory or Possession
  • State Agencies

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Applications may only be submitted by a collaborative state, tribal, local, or regionally-based network or partnership of qualified public and/or private entities. These collaborations may include the following entities: State Cooperative Extension Services; Federal, State, or tribal agencies; community based organizations (CBOs); nongovernmental organizations (NGOs); junior and four-year colleges or universities or foundations maintained by a college or university; and private for-profit organizations. Inclusion of beginning and/or non-beginning farmers and ranchers as part of the collaborative group is strongly encouraged.

Applications submitted by individuals, or by organizations that do not involve other entities in a network or partnership, are not eligible for consideration under any category applicable to the BFRDP and will be excluded from review.

Multiple awards will not be made to the same organization or Project Director in the same calendar year. Further, applications from current awardees will not be accepted for consideration unless the current project is in its final year. EET awards are exempt from this restriction. An organization with an EET award may receive a standard grant, and an organization with a standard grant may receive one (1) but no more than one concurrent EET grant.

Failure to meet an eligibility criterion by the application deadline may result in the application being excluded from consideration or, even though an application may be reviewed, will preclude NIFA from making an award. Award recipients may subcontract to organizations not eligible to apply provided such organizations are necessary for the conduct of the project.

Pre-proposal Conference:

A webinar will be held Wednesday, December 19, 2017 at 1:00 – 3:00 PM EST.

Pre-Application Information:

Applicants interested in applying for an EET grant are strongly encouraged to confer with the Programmatic Contacts discuss the suitability of the topic prior to submitting an application.

NIFA requires that in order to receive an award under this program, the recipient must provide a match in the form of cash or in-kind contributions in an amount equal to 25 percent (25%) of the federal funds provided by the award.

The matching funds must be from non-Federal sources except when authorized by statute. An award will not be issued unless all matching funds over the life of the grant are secured with match support documentation, which will be requested of applicants at the time they are recommended for an award. There can be no contingencies on the matching amount.

Prior to preparing an application, it is recommended that the Project Director/Principal Investigator (PD/PI) first contact an Authorized Representative to determine if the organization is prepared to submit electronic applications through

If not (e.g., the institution/organization is new to the electronic grant application process through, then the one-time registration process must be completed PRIOR to submitting an application. It can take as long as two (2) weeks to complete the registration process so it is critical to begin as soon as possible.

Applications must be received via by 5:00 PM Eastern Time on February 8, 2018

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Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Use the following link to attend the December 19 webinar:

Programmatic Contacts – for questions about scope, program types, narrative contents, and evaluation criteria:

Denis Ebodaghe, National Program Leader
Division of Agricultural Systems
3466 Waterfront Centre
Phone: (202) 401-4385
Fax: (202) 401-1782

Wesley R. Dean, National Program Leader
Division of Agricultural Systems
3109 Waterfront Centre
Phone: (202) 689-4286
Fax: (202) 401-1782

Desiree Rucker-Ross, Program Specialist
Division of Agricultural Systems
3463 Waterfront Centre
Phone: (202) 445-5386
Fax: (202) 401-1782

Administrative/Business Contacts – for questions about budgets, matching, and indirect costs:

Adriene Woodin, Branch Chief, Awards Management Division
2182 Waterfront Centre
Phone: (202) 401-4320
Fax: (202) 401-6271

Susan Bowman, Branch Chief, Awards Management Division
2240 Waterfront Centre
Full Address and Directions
Phone: (202) 401-4324
Fax: (202) 401-6271

CFDA Number:


Funding or Pin Number:


URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

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