$15 million in grants for socially disadvantaged, veteran farmers, ranchers

Published: Aug. 1, 2020 at 11:37 AM CDT
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WIBW) - The USDA is making $15 million in funding opportunities available to support socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it is making $15 million in funding available to help socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers own and operate farms. It says the funding is made available through its Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veterans Farmers and Ranchers Program, or the 2501 Program which is administered by the Office of Partnerships & Public Engagement.

“Socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers deserve equal access to USDA programs and services,” said Mike Beatty, director of the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement. “2501 grants go a long way in fulfilling our mission to increase awareness of and ensure equitable participation in our programs. This can lead to more sustainable farming and ranching operations.”

The USDA says the 2501 program has helped reach socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers experiencing barriers to service due to racial or ethnic prejudices for 30 years. It says in 2014 the Farm Bill expanded the program to veteran farmers and ranchers and in 2018 increased mandatory funding for the program through the 2023 fiscal year.

According to the Department, with 2501 program grants, nonprofits, higher education institutions and Indian Tribes can support socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers with education, training, farming demonstrations and conferences on farming and agri-business as well as increasing access to the USDA’s programs and services.

The USDA says since 1994, it has awarded 484 grants that have totaled over $119 million.

According to the USDA a 2019 grantee, Developing Innovation in Navajo Education, Inc., was awarded funds to improve the operations and profitability of Arizona’s Navajo socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers as well as increasing local production and consumption of fresh produce and healthy foods. It says the Mississippi Association of Cooperatives, another 2019 grantee, helped socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers and youth own and operate agricultural enterprises via an educational outreach program on farm management practices, financial management and marketing.

The Department says those eligible for the 2501 program 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.

The USDA says the deadline for applications is Aug. 26, 2020.

To find more details on the application click here.

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