USDA to support veteran farmers and ranchers

The USDA has made $15 million available to socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers through its 2501 Programme.
calendar icon 25 July 2020
clock icon 6 minute read

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has earmarked approximately $15 million in available funding to help socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers own and operate successful farms. Funding is made through the USDA’s Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Programme (also known as the 2501 Programme). The programme is administered by the USDA Office of Partnerships & Public Engagement (OPPE).

“Socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers deserve equal access to USDA programs and services,” said Mike Beatty, director of the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement. “2501 grants go a long way in fulfilling our mission to increase awareness of and ensure equitable participation in our programmes. This can lead to more sustainable farming and ranching operations.”

For 30 years, the 2501 Programme has helped reach socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers who have experienced barriers to service due to racial or ethnic prejudice. The 2014 Farm Bill expanded the programme to veteran farmers and ranchers. The 2018 Farm Bill increased mandatory funding for the programme through fiscal year 2023. With 2501 programme grants, nonprofits, institutions of higher education and Indian Tribes can support socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers through education, training, farming demonstrations, and conferences on farming and agri-business, and by increasing access to USDA’s programmes and services.

Since 1994, 484 grants totalling more than $119 million have been awarded. Among recent FY 2019 grantees, Developing Innovation in Navajo Education, Inc was awarded funds to improve the operations and profitability of Arizona’s Navajo socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers, and increase the local production and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy food. The Mississippi Association of Cooperatives helped socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers and youth own and operate viable agricultural enterprises through an educational outreach programme on farm management practices, financial management, and marketing.

Eligible 2501 programme applicants include not-for-profit organisations, community-based organisations, and a range of higher education institutions serving African American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Hispanic, Asian, and Pacific Islander communities.

The deadline for applications is 26 August 2020. See the request for applications for full details.

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