U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will issue $9.4 million in grants (PDF, 750 KB) to provide enhanced training, outreach, and technical assistance to underserved and veteran farmers and ranchers. 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).
“From the beginning of this Administration, USDA has focused on increasing rural prosperity and how to best serve our veterans and underserved farmers and ranchers. Helping those who served our country and assisting the disadvantaged is at the heart of our motto at USDA to ‘Do Right and Feed Everyone,’” said Secretary Perdue. “The 2501 grants ensure veterans and underserved farmers and ranchers are well positioned to start their careers in agriculture and continue to give back to the American people. These resources will help strengthen the American economy and provide assistance for those who need it most.”
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 nonprofit organizations to extend USDA’s engagement efforts in underserved communities. This is accomplished through various activities including, but not limited to, conferences, workshops, demonstrations on various farming techniques, and connecting underserved farmers and ranchers to USDA local officials to increase awareness of our programs and services while filling the needs for increased partnerships. Additionally, Alcorn State University will continue to administer the Socially Disadvantaged Policy Research Center with a $400,000 grant funded under this program. Since 2010, the 2501 Program has distributed more than $93 million to 398 partners.