NSAC's Blog


September 22, 2016


Veteran and beginning farmers receive training. Photo credit: University of Arkansas

 Veteran and beginning farmers receive training. Photo credit: University of Arkansas

Education and training to help farmers manage risks related to food production and the natural resources that underlie that production – as well as all manner of financial, marketing, and legal risks – can play a critical role in keeping farmers on the land and helping a new generation of farmers get off to a good start.

On September 16, the four regional Extension Risk Management Education (RME) centers announced the opening of the application process for the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)-backed Risk Management Education project grants. Between the four regional centers – North Central, Northeast, Western, and Southern – about 60 grants are expected to be doled out for projects up to $50,000 and with a maximum timeline of 18 months.

Projects grants are available for any non-profit or extension organization engaged in risk management education and training projects. This competitive grant program in particular emphasizes projects that focus on risk management for beginning, socially disadvantaged, and veteran farmers, or retiring farmers who are transitioning their farms.

While a majority of the projects that the four regions plan to fund in 2017 will be focused on “Education Projects,” each region will allocate a small amount of grants (specified within each regional RFA) to “Exploratory Projects” – projects that are still in preliminary or piloting stages and generally proposed by first time applicants.

NIFA segments “risk” into five possible sources and identifies different ways a program could tackle these risk-related topics to qualify for the grant. Details of these mechanisms can be found in each region’s RFA:

  • Production Risk (e.g., crop insurance, diversification)
  • Marketing Risk (e.g., crop production, direct marketing, marketing plans)
  • Financial Risk (e.g., financial records and analysis, value-added enterprises)
  • Legal Risk (e.g., food safety liability, environmental regulations)
  • Human Risk (e.g., transition and estate planning, labor retention)

Regional RFA links and overviews are listed below.

North Central RFA

To qualify as a North Central project candidate, applicants must reside in: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, or Wisconsin. The North Central Center will focus in on projects addressing producer risk management education, including environmental regulations and water quality concerns.

To find out more about the program, applicants are encouraged to tune into a webinar on September 29, 2016 at 10:00 AM CT.

Northeast RFA

To qualify as a Northeast project candidate, applicants must reside in: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia or the District of Columbia. The Northeast Center lists six priorities when looking for eligible programs in its RFA, including projects dealing with new and beginning farmers and education surrounding leases and land tenure agreements, as well as leadership training for potentially new farmers regarding topics like crop insurance.

Southern RFA

To qualify as a Southern project candidate, applicants must reside in: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands. The Southern RME Center identifies a long list of priorities developed at its strategic planning meeting. Priorities include projects directed towards beginning, veteran and traditionally underserved farmer risk management education, crop insurance education and guidance on implementation, marketing strategies, and training related to the Food Safety Modification Act.

Western RFA

To qualify as a Western project candidate, applicants must reside in: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii, or the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands. The Western Center identifies two priority topics within its Education projects: production risk resulting from climate variability, with reference to adaptation technologies, as well as improved record keeping systems for farmers preparing to comply with new food safety requirements under the Food Safety Modernization Act.

To find out more about the program, interested applicants are encouraged tune into a webinar on October 6, 2016 at 10:00 AM PDT.

All RME Centers have the same application deadline: November 17, 2016 at close of business. Grant recipients will be notified by February 17, 2017.




Categories: Beginning and Minority Farmers, Conservation, Energy & Environment, Food Safety, Grants and Programs, Research, Education & Extension

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