WASHINGTON, Oct. 6, 2020 – Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced $19.1 million in grants to provide training, outreach, and technical assistance to socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers. USDA’s Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers (2501) Program is managed by the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE).
“These grants provide access to USDA programs,” said Mike Beatty, Director of the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement. “Whether it’s through individual technical training, or grassroots community partnership efforts, these projects empower socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers to help them and their businesses thrive.”
USDA will fund approximately $17.6 million in grants
(PDF, 501 KB) issued to 49 organizations conducting outreach and assistance for socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers in 28 states. This funding is made available through the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act and the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020.
Among the projects, the San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition (LFC) is applying for $283,416 in funding to support its Farm Incubation and Regenerative Agriculture Education in Rural Southern Colorado project. LFC’s 38-acre Rio Grande Farm Park will serve as a laboratory for disadvantaged farmer education, demonstration, and land access.
This project will primarily support Priority Areas 1, 4, and 5 through three program activities:
1. Expanded Outreach & Equitable Programming aims to provide equitable and inclusive programming and increase access to resources for disadvantaged farmers;
2.Regenerative Agriculture & Business Education works to establish a culture of learning and networking among farmers in the region and ensure that farmers understand and implement regenerative practices and innovative business practices in order to enhance their farming businesses;
3. New Markets programming will ensure that disadvantaged farmers have the knowledge and skills to launch successful food-related enterprises and increase disadvantaged farmer income and consumer access to fresh local produce by connecting to new markets.
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.
The 2014 Farm Bill expanded the program’s reach to veterans. Grants are awarded to higher education institutions and nonprofit and community-based organizations to extend USDA’s engagement efforts inthese communities. Projects funded under the 2501 Program include but are not limited to conferences, workshops, and demonstrations on various farming techniques, and connecting underserved farmers and ranchers to USDA local officials to increase awareness of USDA’s programs and services while filling the needs for increased partnerships. Since 1994, the 2501 program has awarded 533 grants totaling more than $138 million.