USDA on Thursday announced that organizations in 24 states will share $8.4 million in grants to provide training, outreach and technical assistance for socially disadvantaged, tribal and veteran farmers and ranchers.
"USDA was created to be 'The People's Department,' and in the past eight years we have made tremendous progress in correcting past mistakes and creating a more inclusive culture within our organization. Part of that legacy includes supporting farmers and ranchers with diverse backgrounds and experience levels," said Secretary Tom Vilsack. "The grants announced today will be leveraged by local partners and help bring traditionally underserved people into farming, as well as veterans who want to return home to rural areas."
Among the award recipients:
-First Nations Development Institute, Colorado; also serving Tribal Communities throughout U.S., $200,000
-Cultivating Community, Maine, $187,706
-Michigan Integrated Food & Farming Systems, Michigan, $199,998
-Red Lake Band Of Chippewa Indians, Minnesota, $104,342
-Fond Du Lac Tribal & Community College, Minnesota; also serving Michigan and Wisconsin, $179,381
-Lincoln University, Missouri, $200,000
-University of Missouri System, Missouri, $179,614
-Asian Service Action Inc., Ohio, $199,722
-Common Market Philadelphia Inc., Pennsylvania, $200,000
-Hunkpati Investments, Inc., South Dakota, $169,502
See a complete list here.
Additionally, Alcorn State University will continue to administer the Socially Disadvantaged Policy Research Center with a $400,000 grant, providing analysis and development of policy recommendations to engage socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
These grants are provided through USDA's Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program, also known as the 2501 Program and administered by USDA's Office of Advocacy and Outreach (OAO). Since 2010, more than $83.8 million has been invested through the 2501 Program to leverage the work of local partners. The 2014 Farm Bill reauthorized the program and expanded the program mandate to include military Veterans.
OAO works across USDA agencies to improve the viability and profitability of small and beginning farmers and ranchers; improve access to USDA programs for historically underserved communities; increase agricultural opportunities for farm workers; and close the professional achievement gap by providing opportunities for diverse, talented young people to support the agricultural industry in the 21st century.