Monday, June 30, 2014

In hopes of attracting youth, USDA adds new website to assist beginning farmers and ranchers

Everything you need to know about starting a career in farming or ranching is now available on the U.S. Department of Agriculture website. As part of the Farm Bill, USDA announced last week "a new website that will provide a centralized, one-stop resource where beginning farmers and ranchers can explore the variety of USDA initiatives designed to help them succeed," says a news release from the organization.

Because the average age of principal farm operators is 58.3—up from 57.1 in 2007, according to the Census of Agriculture—USDA is focusing attention on getting younger Americans interested in farming, Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden said in the release. She said, "Our new online tool will provide one-stop shopping for beginning farmers to learn more about accessing USDA services that can help their operations thrive."

The release said the site "has in-depth information for new farmers and ranchers, including: how to increase access to land and capital; build new market opportunities; participate in conservation opportunities; select and use the right risk management tools; and access USDA education and technical support programs. These issues have been identified as top priorities by new farmers. The website will also feature instructive case studies about beginning farmers who have successfully utilized USDA resources to start or expand their business operations." (Read more)

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