USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has announced the availability of more than $18 million in grants to help train, educate and enhance the sustainability of the next generation of farmers through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP).

"Beginning farmers and ranchers are critical to creating rural prosperity in the U.S., but they face unique challenges and require education and assistance to ensure their profitability and sustainability," says Roger Beachy, NIFA director. "These grants will provide training the America's next generation of farmers and ranchers need to succeed."

BFRDP is an education, training, technical assistance and outreach program designed to help U.S. farmers and ranchers – specifically those who have been farming or ranching for 10 years or less. NIFA will make grants available to organizations to design programs to help beginning farmers and ranchers. Project results are expected to be disseminated widely to all farmers. Proposals are due April 6, and applications are available at www.csrees.usda.gov/fo/beginningfarmerandrancher.cfm.