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The United States invests more than $ 53 Million to help American farmers prosper

It highlights the investment of the Trump Administration in managing the stress of farmers and ranchers, and the organization of programs to guide military veterans towards agriculture and livestock.

9/25/2020

Growers from the United States.

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) of the US Department of Agriculture yesterday announced grant investments of more than $ 53 million in three unique programs for US farmers, ranchers and military veterans to support US agriculture.

"Agriculture offers promising career opportunities, particularly in agriculture and livestock," said Parag Chitnis, Acting Director of the NIFA. “Federal investments in programs that help new farmers get into business, support military veterans who are considering farming and ranching as a new career, and address serious stress-related mental health issues among farmers, they are critical to ensuring our next generation of food producers are able to successfully meet the challenges facing agriculture. "

While there are many excellent opportunities in agriculture, beginning farmers and ranchers have unique needs for education, training, and technical assistance. For those within their first 10 years of operation, it is vital that they have access to capital, land, and knowledge and information to help improve the profitability and sustainability of their operations. The USDA-NIFA Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program (BFRDP) awarded more than $ 16.7 million in 48 projects to provide the support new farmers and ranchers need.

Long before the pandemic caused increased stress around the world, stress-related mental health was already a growing concern in farming communities from coast to coast. USDA-NIFA introduced a competitive grant program, the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN), reauthorized by the Farm Bill of 2018, which supports projects to provide stress relief to people in agriculture, the Livestock and other agriculture-related occupations provides a conduit for improving behavioral health awareness, literacy, and more favorable outcomes for themselves and their families.

This year, USDA-NIFA awarded grants to four regional entities that contribute to the Farm and Ranch Stress Relief Network. In the long term, this three-year financing totaling $ 28.7 million will ensure that vulnerable agricultural producers and their families have more options for affordable, high-quality help close to home. The FRSAN winners for fiscal year 2020 are:
  • North Central Farm and Ranch Stress Relief Center: Engaging Programs to Support Producer Wellness - University of Illinois, Urbana, IL, received $ 7,187,000.
  • Creation of an inclusive and comprehensive network for stress relief on farms and ranches in the Northeast: The National Coalition of Young Farmers, Hudson, NY, received $ 7,164,124.
  • Farm and Ranch Stress Relief Network: Southern Region - University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, received $ 7,187,000.
  • Western Region Agricultural Stress Assistance Program - Washington State University, Pullman, WA, received $ 7,182,886.
In addition to the opportunities available to military veterans in the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers program, USDA-NIFA also offers the Enhanced Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans (AgVets) program. USDA-NIFA announced $ 9.6 million awarded to 17 projects that will equip military veterans with skills, training and experience for careers in food and agriculture and can also offer workforce preparation and employment prospects. Additionally, these investments will strengthen the personal finances of rural military veterans and military families and help their communities grow.

AgVets projects offer hands-on on-site training and classroom education leading to a comprehensive understanding of successful farming and ranching operations and management practices. The program has supported more than 400 veterans in the past two years and these new projects will continue to create pathways for military veterans interested in agricultural careers.

These farmer-centered programs strengthen agricultural production and rural economies in the US. And they support multiple themes outlined in the USDA Science Plan and bring us closer to meeting the goals outlined in the USDA Agricultural Innovation Agenda.


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