The USDA has announced a new investment of $17.8 million for 37 projects to help educate, mentor, and enhance the sustainability of the next generation of farmers, including $600,000 for the Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association, or ALBA, in Salinas. ALBA generates opportunities for farm workers and limited-resource, aspiring farmers to grow and sell crops from two organic farms in Monterey County. CDFA produced a video about ALBA as part of its award-winning Growing California series.
The USDA investment is made through the agency’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). Since 2009, USDA has invested more than $126 million into projects targeting new and beginning farmers and ranchers through BFRDP.
With the average age of the American farmer exceeding 58 years, the USDA (and CDFA) recognizes the need to bring more people into agriculture. Over the course of the Obama Administration, USDA has engaged its resources to provide greater support to the farmers of the future by improving access to land and capital; building new markets and market opportunities; extending new conservation opportunities; offering appropriate risk management tools; and increasing outreach, education, and technical support.