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USDA Announces $16.6 Million in Funding Opportunities to Support Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced approximately $16.6 million in available funding to community-based and nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education, and Tribal entities that help socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers own and operate successful farms. Funding is made through the USDA’s Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (also known as the 2501 Program). The 2501 program is administered by the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE).

“USDA is committed to removing barriers to access,” said Dr. Lisa Ramirez, director of the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement. “The 2501 program helps connect historically disadvantaged groups with USDA financing and programming.”

For more than 30 years, and in partnership with organizations nationwide, the 2501 Program has helped reach socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers who have experienced barriers to service due to racial or ethnic prejudice. The 2014 Farm Bill expanded the program to include assistance to veteran farmers and ranchers. The 2018 Farm Bill increased mandatory funding for the program through fiscal year 2023. With 2501 Program grants, nonprofits, institutions of higher education and federally recognized Indian Tribes can support socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers through education, training, farming demonstrations, and conferences on farming and agribusiness, and by increasing access to USDA’s programs and services.

Since 2010, 534 grants totaling more than $138 million have been awarded. Among recent FY 2020 grantees, North South Institute in Sunrise, Florida received a 2501 grant for demonstrations and training to help African American and veteran farmers and ranchers create resilient, sustainable farming operations. The New Mexico Acequia Association (NMAA) in Santa Fe, New Mexico trains Hispanic farmers and youth in how to use acequias (communal irrigation canals) for small-scale farming, and assists farmers in applying for USDA programs.

Eligible 2501 Program applicants include not-for-profit organizations, community-based organizations, and a range of higher education institutions serving African American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Hispanic, Asian, and Pacific Islander communities.

Source : usda.gov

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