WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it will issue $16.2 million in grants to provide 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).
“All 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 reach historically underserved communities and ensure their equitable participation in our programs.”
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 in these 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.
Additionally, Alcorn State University will continue to administer the Socially Disadvantaged Policy Research Center (The Center) with a $525,000 grant funded under this program. The Center specializes in policy research impacting socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers in order to make policy recommendations that will improve their success.
Since 2010, the 2501 Program has awarded 484 grants totaling $119.5 million.