The Department of Agriculture (USDA) is soliciting applications, via the attached July 24, 2014 FEDERAL REGISTER notice, under its Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (the 2501 Program). The goal of the program “is to assist socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers in owning and operating farms and ranches while increasing their participation in agricultural programs and services provided by the USDA.” Tribes, tribal colleges and other tribal organizations are among the eligible applicants. Applications are due by August 25, 2014.
This program was established in 1990 and was expanded by the 2014 Farm Bill to include farmers and ranchers who are veterans. The funds—$10 million annually—are mandatory. The term “socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers” is defined as a farmer or rancher who is a member of a socially disadvantaged group. The term “socially disadvantaged group” is defined as “a group whose members have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities.”
This solicitation is for $9.1 million; there is no matching requirement. Proposals must address two or more of the following priority areas of assistance to socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers:
- Assistance in owning and operating successful farms and ranches
- Improving participation in USDA programs
- Building relationships between current and prospective socially disadvantaged or veteran farmers and ranchers and USDA’s local, state, regional and National offices
- Providing outreach and education on USDA class action lawsuits and claims processes
- Introducing agriculture-related information through innovative outreach and technical assistance
Please let us know if we may provide additional information regarding the 2501 Program.