Virginia State University’s Cooperative Extension Receives $600,000 Grant to Support New Farmers and Ranchers

In *All, Agricultural Economy, Agricultural Systems by Ag is America

The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture is a program that funds education, extension, outreach, and technical assistance initiatives directed at helping beginning farmers and ranchers.

Their latest investment has been a $600,000 grant awarded to Virginia State University’s Cooperative Extension Small Farm Outreach Program. The grant will help the Extension educate and mentor socially-disadvantaged and veteran Virginia beginning farmers and ranchers (SDVBFR) so they are prepared to develop sustainable and economically successful farms.

“Agriculture is the number one industry in the commonwealth,” said William Crutchfield, director of the Small Farm Outreach Program. “But high barriers to entry make farming and ranching one of the hardest careers to pursue, and the number of people entering into farming has been slowly declining each year.”

The grant is the only federal program that is solely dedicated to training the next generation of farmers and ranchers. The initiative has been highly successful thus far and provides grants to academic institutions, state Extension programs, producer groups, and community organizations that all support and train these new farmers and ranchers across the country. The grant provides funding for everything from production techniques to creating a business plan to mentoring new farmers and assisting with other challenges for those beginning a career in agriculture.

For more information on the resources the grant will provide and the exciting impact this will have on new farmers and ranchers, read more here.

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