On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the investment of nearly $24 million across 45 organizations and institutions that teach and train beginning farmers and ranchers. This investment is part of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BRDDP) that supports a wide range of professional development activities across an array of important topics for new farmers and ranchers, such as managing capital, acquiring and managing land, and learning effective business and farming practices. Four California institutions were awarded grants.
In the RCRC member county of Yolo, two organizations received grants of nearly $750 thousand each. The Center for Land-Based Learning was awarded a grant for a three year project that aims to cultivate success in beginning farms in order to build resilience in critical years (learn more), and UC Davis received a grant for a one year project that leverages the current extension and research OREI-USDA grant between UC Davis, Iowa State, and the University of Kentucky to develop the next generation of integrative farmers in those regions. Learn more about the project here. The Sustainable Systems Research Foundation, in Santa Cruz, was awarded a grant of nearly $50 thousand to expand a previously successful workshop program to focus education and research efforts on beginning Latinx farmers and their small farms in Santa Cruz County and the RCRC member counties of Monterey and San Benito. In San Diego County, California State University – San Marcos was awarded nearly $50 thousand for the G.R.O.W.E.R. Apprenticeship Program (“Generate Real Opportunities through Earth’s Resources”) to develop a training program to offer opportunities for beginning farmers and ranchers of historically underrepresented communities. The full list of awards and additional details about the California-based projects can be found here.