The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently made available up to $16 million in funding to help veterans or socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers operate successful farms. The program is administered by the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE).
“All farmers and ranchers deserve equal access to USDA programs and services,” said OPPE Director Mike Beatty. “More than 2,500 grants go a long way in fulfilling our mission to reach historically underserved communities and ensure their equitable participation in our programs.”
Funding is made through the USDA’s 2501 Program (Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers). For 30 years, the 2501 Program has helped reach socially disadvantaged agricultural producers, those who have experienced barriers to service due to prejudice. The 2014 Farm Bill expanded the program’s reach to veterans, and the 2018 Farm Bill boosted mandatory funding through 2023.
With 2501 Program grants, nonprofits and institutions of higher education can support underserved and veteran farmers and ranchers through education, training, demonstrations, and conferences on farming and agribusiness, and by increasing access to USDA’s programs and services.
Since 1994, the 2501 Program has awarded 451 grants totaling more than $103 million. Eligible applicants include veterans, 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.
OPPE will host a teleconference during the enrollment period of this announcement to answer questions from interested applicants. To participate in the teleconference at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 6, call 800-230-1059 before the designated time and enter passcode: 469846.
The deadline for applications is Thursday, Aug. 15. Visit www.outreach.usda.gov/grants to obtain an application and review full details for the program.