USDA Announces $8.8 Million to Support a Diverse Next Generation of Farmers and Ranchers

Taylor HillmanGeneral

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced $8.4 million to support the work of 54 partner organizations in 35 states to provide training, outreach and technical assistance for socially disadvantaged, tribal and veteran farmers and ranchers.

An additional $400,000 will help establish the Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center at Alcorn State University in Lorman, Miss.

“Today’s announcement is part of our ongoing commitment to support an agricultural landscape where there is room and opportunity for all,” said Vilsack. “Agriculture is just like any other business-it needs people from diverse backgrounds and experience levels in order to reach its full potential and meet the challenges of tomorrow. Identifying, recruiting and training a vibrant next generation of American farmers and ranchers has never been more exciting or more urgent than it is right now.”

Among today’s recipients, 31 partner organizations serve persistent poverty counties that are part of USDA’s StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity Initiative. Twenty-five of the partnerships include resources for veterans interested in farming and 12 focus on tribal communities.

Examples include a $200,000 grant in Minnesota and western Wisconsin to support the Latino Economic Development Center in assisting low-income, beginning Latino and Hmong farmers by providing direct training and assistance to increase land ownership, profitability and sustainability. In South Carolina a $147,722 grant will support Project Outreach, Education and Training (POET) coordination in areas identified as having the highest concentrations of socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers in USDA StrikeForce counties.

Recipients include:

State Recipient Organization Award Amount
Alabama Alabama A&M University $180,791
Alabama Alabama State Association of Cooperatives $200,000
Alabama Tuskegee University $200,000
Alabama The United Christian Community Association $114,300
Alaska Alaska Tribal Conservation Alliance $86,286
Alaska University of Alaska Fairbanks $75,134
Arizona Developing Innovation in Navajo Education $199,348
Arkansas University of Arkansas System $200,000
California National Hmong American Farmers $105,847
Colorado Adams State University $127,387
Colorado First Nations Development Institute $158,175
Delaware Delaware State University $199,988
Florida Wealth Watchers $176,131
Florida Florida International University $174,759
Florida North South Institute $141,664
Georgia Georgia Organics $59,392
Georgia Golden Triangle Resource Conservation and Development Council $106,417
Georgia Quarterman, James dba FMG Farm $125,981
Hawaii The Kohala Center $171,465
Idaho Mountain States Group $94,052
Kentucky Kentucky State University $199,982
Louisiana Southern University and A&M College $200,000
Maryland University of Maryland Eastern Shore $181,605
Michigan Michigan Integrated Food & Farming Systems $101,105
Minnesota Hmong National Development $195,926
Minnesota Latino Economic Development CE $200,000
Mississippi Alcorn State University Education Building Corporation $200,000
Mississippi Mississippi Minority Farmers Alliance $150,000
Mississippi Tugaloo College $199,983
Mississippi Tri-County Agricultural Cooperative $150,992
Mississippi Winston County Self Help $200,000
Missouri Lincoln University $199,965
Montana NACDC Financial Services $131,859
Montana National Center for Appropriate Technology $99,095
New Mexico New Mexico State University $199,767
New York International Rescue Committee $200,000
North Carolina North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University $197,871
Ohio Central State University $199,999
Oklahoma Mvskoke Food Sovereignty Initiative $132,799
Oregon Adelante Mujeres $62,712
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Horticultural Society $199,950
Rhode Island Souths Side Community Land Trust $114,968
South Carolina United Farmers USA, Inc. $147,722
Tennessee Tennessee State University $155,133
Texas Gleaning Network of Texas $139,513
Texas Prairie View A&M University $200,000
Texas University of Texas – Pan American $199,995
Vermont University of Vermont & State Agricultural College $41,602
Virginia Virginia State University $200,000
Washington Washington State University $40,770
West Virginia West Virginia State University $199,793
Wisconsin Linda & Gene Farley Center for Peace Justice and Sustainability $197,816
Wisconsin Northwest Wisconsin Concentrated Employment Program $88,816
Wisconsin Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin $199,645

Total $8,426,500

These grants are administered through USDA’s Office of Advocacy and Outreach (OAO) 2501 Program. Since 2010, more than $74 million has been invested through the 2501 Program to leverage the work of 304 local partners. The 2014 Farm Bill reauthorized the program and expanded assistance to include military veterans.

Creation of a center for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research at an 1890 Land-Grant Institution was authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill. The Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center at Alcorn State University will provide a national hub for analysis and development of policy recommendations to improve engagement and promote the interests of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

OAO works across USDA agencies to improve the viability and profitability of small and beginning farmers and ranchers; improve access to USDA programs for historically underserved communities; increase agricultural opportunities for farm workers; and close the professional achievement gap by providing opportunities for diverse, talented young people to support the agricultural industry in the 21st century.