The United States Department of Agriculture announced this week (March 9, 2022) approximately $35 million in funding available for community and nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education, and tribal entities that help farmers and historically underserved and veteran ranchers to own and operate successful farms. Funding is made through the USDA Outreach and Assistance Program for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and the Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (also known as the 2501 Program). The 2501 program is administered by the USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement.

“It has always been difficult for the beginning farmer, the young farmer, the specialty crop grower to access and use USDA programs, and even more so for farmers of color who have been denied the access because of historical discrimination in agricultural programs,” said OPPE Director Lisa Ramirez. “2501 funding helps historically underserved groups access and participate more fully 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 encountered barriers to service due to racial or ethnic bias. The 2014 Farm Bill expanded the program to include assistance for experienced farmers and ranchers. The 2018 Farm Bill increased the program’s mandatory funding through fiscal year 2023. With $2,501 in funding, organizations conduct education, training, farm demonstrations, and conferences on agriculture and farming. agribusiness, and improve access to USDA programs and services.

Since 2010, the 2501 program has awarded 563 grants totaling more than $158 million. Among recent FY2021 recipients, 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. has organized institutes to train veterans and other students for careers in sustainable food production.

Eligible applicants for the 2501 program include nonprofits, community organizations, and a range of institutions of higher education serving African American, Native American, Alaska Native, Hispanic, Asian, and Pacific Islander communities.

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

Learn more in upcoming webinars:

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

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