The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that the agency will be making approximately $15 million in funding support available for a farming assistance program designed to help socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers. The support is to be provided through the USDA’s Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program, known as the 2501 Program.
“Socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers deserve equal access to USDA programs and services,” Director of the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE), Mike Beatty said in a news release. “2501 grants go a long way in fulfilling our mission to increase awareness of and ensure equitable participation in our programs. This can lead to more sustainable farming and ranching operations.”
The 2501 Program is administered by the OPPE, which has awarded more than $119 million in grants over the past 16 years. Initially established by the 1990 Farm Bill, the 2501 Program is aimed at providing outreach and technical assistance for underserved farmers, ranchers, and foresters, in owning and operating sustainable farms and ranches. The program is also intended to help increase the participation of underserved communities in USDA programs and services.
The 2014 Farm Bill expanded the 2501 Program to include veterans and the 2018 Farm Bill provided an increase in mandatory funding for the program. Eligible 2501 program applicants include nonprofit organizations, community-based organizations, Indian Tribes, and institutions of higher education. The funding is to be used to support socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers through education, training, farming demonstrations, and conferences on farming and agricultural business practices.
The OPPE will be hosting a teleconference on Tuesday, July 28 to provide details of the program. The agency may also schedule further outreach opportunities if there is continued interest in further information. The deadline to submit an application for the farming assistance program is Wednesday, August 26.