USDA announces $35 million funding opportunity to support underserved and veteran farmers and ranchers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced approximately $35 million in available funding to community-based and nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education and tribal entities that help historically underserved and veteran farmers and ranchers own and operate successful farms. Funding is made 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). The 2501 Program is administered by the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement.

“It has always been hard for the beginning farmer, the young farmer, the specialty crop grower to access and make use of USDA programs — and even more so for farmers of color who were denied access because of historical discrimination in farm programs,” said OPPE Director Lisa Ramirez. “2501 funding helps historically underserved groups more fully access and participate in USDA programs and services.”

For more than 30 years, and in partnership with organizations nationwide, the 2501 Program has helped reach historically underserved farmers and ranchers who have experienced barriers to service due to racial or ethnic prejudice. The 2014 Farm Bill expanded the program to include assistance to veteran farmers and ranchers. The 2018 Farm Bill increased mandatory funding for the program through fiscal year 2023. With 2501 funding, organizations conduct education, training, farming demonstrations, and conferences on farming and agribusiness, and increase access to USDA’s programs and services.

Since 2010, the 2501 program has awarded 563 grants totaling more than $158 million. Among recent FY 2021 grantees, the Kodiak Archipelago Leadership Institute received a 2501 grant to help establish a regional network of Alaska Native farmers in support of economic development and regional food security. Additionally, Georgia-based Stag Vets, Inc. conducted institutes to train veterans and other students for careers in sustainable food production.

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Eligible 2501 Program applicants include not-for-profit organizations, community-based organizations, and a range of higher education institutions serving African American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Hispanic, Asian and Pacific Islander communities.

Visit the 2501 Program page for more information on the 2501 funding opportunity.

Learn more through upcoming webinars
Session 1: March 30, 2022, at 2 p.m. EDT – Register at: www.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_deGz0uf9TIyNPkkuvRfxUA

Session 2: May 4, 2022, at 2 p.m. EDT – Register at: www.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_29_qm0hxTbeYw2I9e2QAfw

Call for peer review panelists
USDA seeks qualified individuals to serve as peer reviewers to evaluate 2501 program proposals for fiscal year 2022. The peer review approach brings together diverse individuals who can provide fair, expert, and unbiased evaluation of proposals. The process ensures that grant projects are properly planned, competition is open and fair, proposed budgets are carefully examined, and grant awards are structured to protect the interests of the government. The entire review process will be conducted virtually for approximately three to four weeks. Selected reviewers will receive compensation. Visit the OPPE website for full details. If you are interested in serving on the peer review panel, and your affiliated organization is not applying for a 2501 grant, send your resume and summary of qualifications to [email protected] no later than April 15, 2022 for consideration.

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Today’s announcement is the latest in a series of announcements building momentum around USDA’s historic commitment to root out generations of systemic racism, center equity in decision-making and policymaking, lower barriers to access and ensure USDA programming is inclusive of all employees and all customers. Learn more at www.usda.gov/equity.

About the USDA
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.