Socially disadvantaged farmers will be receiving targeted support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA). A total of $2 million will be made available through USDA’s new Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. The assistance program puts an emphasis on small and socially disadvantaged farmers that have been affected by COVID-19. The initiative is aimed at developing partnerships with organizations proving assistance to producers that have been unable to access previous assistance programs.
“USDA is committed to making financial assistance available to a broader set of producers, including to socially disadvantaged communities, and we know that we need partners to help make that happen,” FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux said in a news release. “This funding will support grassroots organizations and public institutions as we support their producers. I am excited to see their innovative, results-driven proposals to help us reach our producers, especially those who have not taken full advantage of the available assistance.”
The cooperative agreements are to support projects that increase access and participation in FSA programs by socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. Cooperative agreements are also meant to improve technical assistance offered through county committees prioritizing urban agriculture and FSA programs. Organizations interested in participating in cooperative agreements will have until May 5 to submit proposals.
USDA will be dedicating at least $6.5 billion toward new programs including the Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. Rules will also be established for USDA programs seeking to provide better assistance for small and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. As part of the announcement, FSA has reopened the application window for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2). Those wishing to apply or modify existing CFAP 2 applications will have at least 60 days to submit applications. Funding is available to non-profits, tribal governments, as well as institutions of higher education.