Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

The Beginning Farmers and Ranchers project is a joint effort of Farm Foundation, USDA and the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) to examine issues that either hinder or facilitate the entry of beginning farmers into the agricultural sector, as well as the factors that lead to their success or failure.

Call for Papers on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

 The Economic Research Service, USDA and Farm Foundation are sponsoring a 2-day workshop on young and beginning farmers, in order to provide a forum to discuss beginning farmer and rancher opportunities. The workshop, to be held in September 2020 in Washington D.C., will bring together academics and other researchers and USDA agencies, with the objective of informing practitioners, policy makers and USDA program agencies in their interactions with young and beginning farmers.

Organizers are calling for papers highlighting empirical data and models that bring cutting-edge thinking on one or more themes related to beginning farmers and ranchers (BFR), including:

These above themes are suggested only. In addition to research, we are also looking for case studies of the above.

A recent report from ERS describes some of the geographic, commodity specialization and financial characteristics of beginning farms and farmers. In addition to ARMS data, data from the 2017 and earlier Agricultural Censuses are easily accessed and provide an extensive repository of data for analysis.

Full papers are not to exceed 15-20 pages and 4,000 words maximum. Authors of selected papers will receive an honorarium from the Farm Foundation to cover their participation expenses, and all papers will be given the option of consideration for publication in a special issue of Agricultural Finance Review.

The deadline to submit a one-page abstract is April 30, 2020, and authors of selected abstracts will be notified by May 31, 2020. Abstracts should be sent to  For more information, contact Tim Brennan at or (630) 571-9393. 

Thank you to the following organizations for their support of this important project:


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