USDA launching initiative to support beginning farmers and ranchers

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The United States Department of Agriculture is creating a new team so the whole department can better support beginning farmers and ranchers.

The USDA created national coordinator position to institutionalize support and will also be hiring state coordinators in the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Risk Management Agency (RMA), and Rural Development (RD).

In the United States about 27 percent of farmers have less than 10 years of experience and are therefore classified as new or beginning producers.

“More than a quarter of producers are beginning farmers,” said USDA Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky. “We need to support the next generation of agricultural producers who we will soon rely upon to grow our nation’s food and fiber.”

Sarah Campbell, a beginning farmer, was selected as the national coordinator of the department’s efforts. In her new role, she will develop plans to increase beginning farmer participation and access to programs. Campbell was previously the acting director of customer experience for the Farm Production and Conservation Business Center.

“We know starting a new farm business is extremely challenging, and we know our customers value and benefit from being able to work directly with our field employees, especially beginning farmers,” Campbell said. “These new coordinators will be a key resource at the local level and will help beginning farmers get the support they need. I look forward to working with them.”

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