U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith lauded nearly $800,000 in USDA grants that are headed to Minnesota. The grants will support beginning farmers and ranchers with $189,000 going to The Main Street Project in Northfield and a $600,000 grant going to the University of Minnesota campus in Saint Paul.

The senators--both members of the Senate Agriculture Committee--said that this funding is available through the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) grants that will lead to creating and sustaining beginning farmers and ranchers in America. The goal of that program is to increase the number, success, and sustainability of beginning farmers by providing them with the knowledge, skills, and tools to achieve economic success.

"These grants will help ensure that Minnesotans have access to the education and training opportunities they need to succeed as they get started in agriculture," Klobuchar said. "Minnesota has a long tradition of farming, and we must continue working to expand opportunity for our farmers to enhance and sustain their livelihood for generations to come."

"We need to support all farmers--and that includes making sure we're advocating for the success of a diverse and growing farming industry," said Sen. Smith. "I fought to help younger and non-traditional farmers get started with their businesses during the 2018 Farm Bill debate because supporting beginning farmers and ranchers is key to our state's economic future."

With the grant funding awarded to The Main Street Project, organizations that serve primarily farmers of color in specific urban and rural areas of Minnesota will provide year-long trainings, workshops and field days, one-on-one technical assistance and more. These organizations will help form partnerships to promote collaboration and improved programming. You can learn more here.

The University of Minnesota will be able to maintain and expand the online Farm Answers library that provides beginning farmers and ranchers with a one-stop source of information materials and programs that will help them succeed in their chosen agricultural endeavors. It will work with BFRDP Standard and Educational Team projects to facilitate collaboration, communication and sharing of educational materials between projects to amplify the effectiveness and reach of the assistance provided to beginning farmers and ranchers.