October 19, 2010
Harkin Announces More Than $560,000 to Provide Training to Beginning Farmers in Iowa
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today announced that $560,998 will be coming to Iowa as part of a national effort to provide training and assistance to beginning farmers that will help them run successful and sustainable farms. The funds will be awarded to Practical Farmers of Iowa, based in Ames, whose mission is to research, develop and promote profitable, ecologically sound and community-enhancing approaches to agriculture. The organization carries out diverse programs to assist farmers with both production and marketing needs, to raise public awareness of where food comes from and how it is grown and to educate youth about agriculture and the environment.
“Agriculture is a central part of Iowa’s economy and way of life, yet Iowans who seek to get a start in farming face daunting challenges. It is critical for our state – and our nation’s food supply – that we help to train a new generation about farming and encourage them to pursue agriculture,” said Harkin. “Today’s funding will help do just this, and will further our efforts to ensure a strong, productive and profitable agriculture sector in Iowa for generations to come.”
Today’s funding comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) through its Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). BFRDP is an education, training, technical assistance and outreach program designed to help U.S. farmers and ranchers, specifically those who have been farming or ranching for 10 years or fewer. Harkin helped to improve and add mandatory funding to BFRDP in the 2008 farm bill, the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, as the then Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.