Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and USDA's National Agricultural Library, in partnership with the American Farm Bureau Federation, has announced, a new online portal that helps to provide assistance for beginning farmers and ranchers.

The portal includes links to training, financing, technical assistance and other support services specifically for beginning farmers and ranchers as well as successful case studies about new and beginning farmers and ranchers.

"America's farmers and rural communities are vitally important to our nation's economy, producing the food, feed, fiber and fuel that continue to help us grow," said Secretary Vilsack.

"USDA is working to provideopportunities for the next generation to get into agriculture in order to continue the record success of America's farmers and ranchers who are seeing record farm incomes and record exports. will help us protect and sustain these successes so that we continue to build an agriculture industry diverse and successful enough to attract the smartest, hardest-working young people in the nation.

" was funded via the NIFA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP), program that funded the development of education, training, outreach and mentoring programs to enhance the sustainability of the next generation of America's farmers and ranchers.

The Program has been funded since fiscal year 2009. It was authorized in the 2008 farm bill with $75 million through FY12.

In the first year of NIFA's Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program, three-year grants supported training for 5,000 beginning farmers and ranchers. In 2011, it is anticipated that these grants will have supported training for more than 10,000 beginning farmer and ranchers.