Beginning farmers and farmworkers are receiving grant support from the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). Awards of $5 million in grant funding has been announced by CDFA’s Office of Farm Equity. The support is being provided through the 2022 Beginning Farmer and Farmworker Training and Workforce Development Grant Program (BFFTP). Additionally, another $5 million is set to be made available in 2023 in a second solicitation for proposals. The program provides support to organizations to bolster training and apprenticeship offerings for beginning farmers and farmworkers.
“We need new farmers and ranchers in California, and this program is a crucial step in cultivating the next generation of talent in agriculture,” CDFA Secretary Karen Ross said in a press release. “There is a place for all who have the desire to farm or to improve their skills to become farm managers, and this program will help us focus support to grow opportunities in agriculture.”
Funding for the BFFTP is made possible through the 2021-2022 California general fund budget. CDFA has noted that 16 projects are being supported through the program. Grant amounts that have been awarded range between $100,000 and $800,000. Some of the organizations to receive grants include the African American Farmers of California, Farmworkers Institute of Education, and North Coast Growers Association. Two types of BFFTP grant offerings are available: program planning and curriculum development grants, and program implementation grants.
The overall purpose of the BFFTP is to expand the available resources dedicated to supporting beginning farmers and ranchers in the first ten years of business. Additionally, the program is intended to provide farmworkers with educational opportunities to expand their skill sets and improve job security. The program also helps to develop regional networks to provide better workforce development and training for underserved communities within the agricultural industry.