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ND Farming Beginners to Get a Jump on the Learning Curve

November 3, 2008

Lyons, NE – Beginning farmers need expertise to get started in agriculture. To help, Congress set aside about $75 million in the 2008 Farm Bill for that purpose.

Traci Bruckner, spokesperson for the Center for Rural Affairs, says the money is available through the "Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program," which provides skills in many important areas, such as credit management, apprenticeships, developing markets and gaining access to land.

"Seventy-five million dollars over the life of the Farm Bill - that is quite a bit of money to spread around. It means there is going to be enough money to get something going in half of the states each year."

Bruckner believes the best way to invest the money is in projects that help beginners establish high-value niche markets, which also benefits rural communities.

"That's a big part of community development: establishing the next generation of farmers and ranchers. Any services that can be provided to do that are a big benefit for rural communities."

Bruckner says the U.S. Department of Agriculture is still taking ideas from the public. The deadline to offer insight by mail or e-mail is Nov. 14. Comments can be e-mailed to bfrdp@csrees.usda.gov.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - ND