Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden has announced over $9 million in grant funds will soon be available for outreach and technical assistance to minority and veteran farmers and ranchers. This funding will enable community-based organizations, eligible higher education institutions and tribal organizations to work directly with these groups to successfully acquire, own and operate farms and ranches and to access all USDA programs and services. These funds are being provided through the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program, also known as the “2501 Program”.
Through the 2501 Program, outreach and technical assistance is provided to minority and veteran farmers and ranchers through partnering organizations, including 1890 Land Grant Institutions, 1994 Land Grant Institutions, other American Indian Tribal community colleges and Alaska Native cooperative colleges, Hispanic-serving and other institutions of higher education, Tribal governments and organizations, and community-based organizations.
“To stay competitive, America’s farmers and ranchers must be diverse in experience, background and skills. Every farmer and rancher has something to contribute to America’s agriculture. Community partnerships can help farmers and ranchers reach their full potential,” said Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden. “As we celebrate the first anniversary of the 2014 Farm Bill, programs like these are evidence that an investment in all of America’s farmers and ranchers is an investment in our future.”
Applications for the 2501 program must be submitted through www.grants.gov. More information about the 2501 Program, including forthcoming grant notice and application deadlines is available at: http://www.outreach.usda.gov/grants/index.htm.
The Deputy Secretary also announced the formation of a Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center dedicated to collecting and analyzing data, developing policy recommendations, and evaluating policy concerning socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers including minorities, veterans, and Native Americans. This one-time competitive program is open to any eligible 1890 Land-Grant Institution interested in hosting the Center.
The Deputy Secretary made the announcement at the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, which was awarded a 2501 Grant last year to conduct training, outreach, and technical assistance to minority and veteran farmers and ranchers.
Since 2010, the 2501 Program has distributed more than $66 million to 250 partners. The program is administered by the USDA’s Office of Advocacy and Outreach. The 2014 Farm Bill reauthorized the program and expanded assistance to include military veterans.
The 2014 Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.