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USDA Announces $45 Million Funding Opportunity to Support Underserved and Veteran Farmers, Ranchers, and Foresters

WASHINGTON, April 27, 2023 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced approximately $45 million available to organizations that help underserved and veteran farmers, ranchers, and foresters own and operate successful farms. Funding is made through USDA’s Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program, also known as the 2501 Program. This program is administered by the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE).

“By supporting organizations that work with veterans and underserved groups, 2501 Program funding can help these individuals access and participate in USDA programs and services,” said OPPE Director Lisa Ramirez. “This program demonstrates USDA’s commitment to advance equity and lower barriers to USDA resources.”

For more than 30 years, and in partnership with organizations nationwide, the 2501 Program has helped reach 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 a permanent funding level of $25 million for each year thereafter. With 2501 Program funding, organizations conduct education, training, farming demonstrations, and conferences on farming and agribusiness to increase access to USDA’s programs and services.

Since 2010, the 2501 Program has awarded 615 grants totaling more than $194 million. Among recent FY 2022 grantees, the University of Alaska Fairbanks received a 2501 grant to help tribal communities start new gardens, farms, ranches or other endeavors that promote community food security, resiliency, and economic diversity while upholding traditional knowledge and traditional ways of securing food. Additionally, the Pennsylvania Friends of Agriculture Foundation received a 2501 grant to assist veteran farmers through programs that foster connections among beginning farmer veterans and service providers to create a supportive network that will enable farms to thrive.

Eligible applicants include nonprofit organizations, community-based organizations, federally recognized tribes and tribal organizations, and a range of higher education institutions serving veteran farmers and African American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Hispanic, Asian, and Pacific Islander communities.

Applications must be submitted through Grants.gov and received by Tuesday July 25, 2023. Visit the 2501 Program page for more information on the 2501 funding opportunity.

Learn more through upcoming webinars:

Session 1: June 12, 2023 at 2 p.m. EDT

Meeting ID: 161 269 0234

Passcode: 563668

Session 2: July 10 at 2 p.m. EDT

Meeting ID: 160 725 6449

Passcode: 595722

Call for Peer Review Panelists

USDA seeks qualified individuals to serve as peer reviewers to evaluate 2501 Program proposals for fiscal year 2023. 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, please send your resume and summary of qualifications to 2501grants@usda.gov no later than May 19, 2023 for consideration.

Today’s announcement is among USDA’s efforts to 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.

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.

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