The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Partnerships & Public Engagement (OPPE) announced up to $8.4 million in available funding for training and technical assistance for socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers. Funding is made through USDA’s Outreach & Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers & Ranchers and Veteran Farmers & Ranchers Program (also known as the 2501 Program).
OPPE director Diane Cullo said, “USDA is committed to reaching all farmers and ranchers. Through the 2501 program, the USDA is building lasting relationships among these farmers and ranchers, the local organizations that serve them and the USDA’s local, state, regional and national offices.”
The 2501 Program was originally authorized by the Food, Agriculture, Conservation & Trade Act of 1990. Its grants seek to enhance the equitable participation of socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers in USDA resources and programs, such as Farm Service Agency loans or grants through the Beginning Farmer & Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). Projects may focus on conferences, training sessions, educational materials or new programs to help these farmers and ranchers thrive and succeed.
Eligible applicants include community-based organizations, networks or coalitions of community-based organizations; 1890 or 1994 institutions of higher education; American Indian tribal community colleges or Alaska native cooperative colleges; Hispanic-serving institutions of higher education; other higher education institutions; Indian tribes, or national tribal organizations. Eligible entities must have experience in providing agricultural education or other agricultural-related services for socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers.
The deadline for applications is May 15, 2018. See the request for applications for full details. Learn more about this funding opportunity through two teleconferences: 2 p.m. (EDT) on March 28, and 2 p.m. (EDT) on April 25. To join each session, call 1-888-455-1685 and use pass code 7087935.
An example of a 2501 Program project funded in fiscal 2017 include a grant to National Hmong American Farmers Inc. to provide technical and direct assistance to Hmong farmers in central California who face barriers to successful farming due to poverty and cultural and linguistic isolation. Another is a Florida State University project that reached veterans with workshops, online agricultural courses and 15 farm apprenticeships and managerial apprenticeships at private farms.