(NAFB.com) – USDA’s Deputy Secretary Xochitl (zo-CHEEL) Torres Small announced the agency is investing $27.9 million across 45 organizations that teach and train beginning farmers and ranchers, including veterans. “The next generation of farmers and ranchers hold the promise for the future of American agriculture and rural prosperity,” says Torres Small. “We’re providing our newest producers with the support they need to succeed and the educational resources to guide their operations on the path toward long-term sustainability and profitability.” The investment is part of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program which supports a wide range of professional development activities and topics, such as managing capital, acquiring and managing land, and learning effective business and farming practices. As the average age of U.S. producers continues increasing, Torres Small says the agency is accelerating efforts to provide meaningful support to a large number of upcoming farmers and ranchers.