The USDA has announced that it will issue $9.4 million in grants to provide enhanced training, outreach, and technical assistance to underserved and veteran farmers and ranchers. Two organizations in California will receive a combined amount of nearly $373,000
- Agriculture & Land Based Training Association (ALBA), Salinas Valley – $200,000: A New LIFE will build the capacity of hard-working socially disadvantaged farmers to own and operate viable organic farms. The project will also expand outreach and on-farm agriculture education to high-school, college, and at-risk youth in Salinas Valley’s poor, inland communities to promote gainful career pathways in organic agriculture. Moreover, ALBA will actively recruit and educate veterans in the region, many of whom need help in transitioning into new careers after long stints of military service.
- Kitchen Food Ventures, the Inland Empire – $172, 975: Kitchen Food Ventures (KFV) in partnership with the Sisson Group will host educational workshops and KFV’s Farmers Boot Camp/Business Institute. All classes and workshops will be offered in both Spanish and English, along with printed curriculums and syllabus. Coaches and business consultants are bilingual, speaking both Spanish and English. Core services will include Computer Basics, Business Financial Elevation, and Strategic Growth Workshop. The impact of this project will build the capacity of SDFRs (Socially Disadvantaged Farmer or Rancher) and assist new and veteran SDFRs in achieving targeted growth allowing for contract opportunities that will provide stable income for farmers and expand their farming operations, which will provide employment for other low income residents. In addition, advanced management training and counseling will help farmers effectively manage growth and provide opportunities to explore the appropriateness of clustering, strategic alliances, and mentoring strategies.
This funding is available 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), managed by the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE).
The 2501 Program was created through the 1990 Farm Bill to help socially disadvantaged farmers, ranchers, and foresters, who have historically experienced limited access to USDA loans, grants, training, and technical assistance. Provisions were expanded in the 2014 Farm Bill to include outreach and technical assistance to military veterans. Grants are awarded to higher education institutions and non-profit organizations.