Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced $744,951 in federal funding for Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, in Westchester. The grant was awarded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and will be used to continue to provide education and training programs for new farmers and ranchers. The program provides technical training, business skills, online connectivity training as well as mid-size farmer training. Farmers and ranchers will also be taught resilient agricultural practices.
“This critical funding will help the nationally-renowned Stone Barns Center in Westchester help beginning farmers gain the skills and knowledge they need to break into the complex agricultural sector,” said Senator Schumer. “It is nothing but good news for local residents that the Stone Barns Center in Westchester is now ready to provide the training in agriculture that New Yorkers need.”
“This is an important investment for local farmers in the Westchester area, throughout New York, and beyond,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “The funding will help farmers and ranchers gain necessary skills and knowledge to become successful in agriculture. Important investments like this one will help farmers start out strong so they can build successful and lucrative farming operations that grow the local economy. Stone Barns has an impressive record of success and I am glad to see the programs continue to provide important training and support for our next generation of farmers.”
“With one-third of U.S. farmers now over age 65, and only 6% of farmers are under age 35, we clearly need more of them—and we need them practicing resilient agriculture to secure our food and environmental future,” said Jill Isenbarger, Executive Director of Stone Barns Center. “Resilient agriculture builds soils, uses resources sparingly and can be climate-neutral. The farmers we train go on to grow delicious and nutritious food that is good for our health, our communities and our planet.”
The programs announced for Westchester are part of $18 million in funding grants awarded to educate veterans and farmers throughout the country. The grants are funded through USDA’s NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP), which was authorized under the 2014 Farm Bill. BFRDP is available to farmers with less than 10 years of experience. More information on the BFRDP is available here http://www.nifa.usda.gov/funding/bfrdp/bfrdp.html .