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USDA Announces $8.8 Million to Support a Diverse Next Generation of Farmers and Ranchers

WASHINGTON, September 28, 2015 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced $8.4 million to support the work of 54 partner organizations in 35 states to provide training, outreach and technical assistance for socially disadvantaged, tribal and veteran farmers and ranchers. An additional $400,000 will help establish the Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center at Alcorn State University in Lorman, Miss.

"Today's announcement is part of our ongoing commitment to support an agricultural landscape where there is room and opportunity for all," said Vilsack. "Agriculture is just like any other business-it needs people from diverse backgrounds and experience levels in order to reach its full potential and meet the challenges of tomorrow. Identifying, recruiting and training a vibrant next generation of American farmers and ranchers has never been more exciting or more urgent than it is right now."

Among today's recipients, 31 partner organizations serve persistent poverty counties that are part of USDA's StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity Initiative. Twenty-five of the partnerships include resources for veterans interested in farming and 12 focus on tribal communities.

Examples include a $200,000 grant in Minnesota and western Wisconsin to support the Latino Economic Development Center in assisting low-income, beginning Latino and Hmong farmers by providing direct training and assistance to increase land ownership, profitability and sustainability. In South Carolina a $147,722 grant will support Project Outreach, Education and Training (POET) coordination in areas identified as having the highest concentrations of socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers in USDA StrikeForce counties.

Recipients include:

StateRecipient OrganizationAward Amount
AlabamaAlabama A&M University$180,791
AlabamaAlabama State Association of Cooperatives$200,000
AlabamaTuskegee University$200,000
AlabamaThe United Christian Community Association $114,300
AlaskaAlaska Tribal Conservation Alliance $86,286
AlaskaUniversity of Alaska Fairbanks$75,134
ArizonaDeveloping Innovation in Navajo Education$199,348
ArkansasUniversity of Arkansas System $200,000
CaliforniaNational Hmong American Farmers$105,847
ColoradoAdams State University $127,387
ColoradoFirst Nations Development Institute$158,175
DelawareDelaware State University $199,988
FloridaWealth Watchers$176,131
FloridaFlorida International University$174,759
FloridaNorth South Institute$141,664
GeorgiaGeorgia Organics$59,392
GeorgiaGolden Triangle Resource Conservation and Development Council $106,417
GeorgiaQuarterman, James dba FMG Farm$125,981
HawaiiThe Kohala Center $171,465
IdahoMountain States Group$94,052
KentuckyKentucky State University$199,982
LouisianaSouthern University and A&M College$200,000
MarylandUniversity of Maryland Eastern Shore$181,605
MichiganMichigan Integrated Food & Farming Systems$101,105
MinnesotaHmong National Development$195,926
MinnesotaLatino Economic Development CE$200,000
MississippiAlcorn State University Education Building Corporation$200,000
MississippiMississippi Minority Farmers Alliance$150,000
MississippiTugaloo College$199,983
MississippiTri-County Agricultural Cooperative $150,992
MississippiWinston County Self Help$200,000
MissouriLincoln University$199,965
MontanaNACDC Financial Services$131,859
MontanaNational Center for Appropriate Technology$99,095
New MexicoNew Mexico State University$199,767
New YorkInternational Rescue Committee$200,000
North CarolinaNorth Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University$197,871
OhioCentral State University$199,999
OklahomaMvskoke Food Sovereignty Initiative$132,799
OregonAdelante Mujeres$62,712
PennsylvaniaPennsylvania Horticultural Society $199,950
Rhode IslandSouths Side Community Land Trust $114,968
South CarolinaUnited Farmers USA, Inc.$147,722
TennesseeTennessee State University$155,133
TexasGleaning Network of Texas$139,513
TexasPrairie View A&M University$200,000
TexasUniversity of Texas - Pan American$199,995
VermontUniversity of Vermont & State Agricultural College$41,602
VirginiaVirginia State University$200,000
WashingtonWashington State University $40,770
West VirginiaWest Virginia State University$199,793
WisconsinLinda & Gene Farley Center for Peace Justice and Sustainability$197,816
WisconsinNorthwest Wisconsin Concentrated Employment Program$88,816
WisconsinOneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin$199,645

Total $8,426,500

These grants are administered through USDA's Office of Advocacy and Outreach (OAO) 2501 Program. Since 2010, more than $74 million has been invested through the 2501 Program to leverage the work of 304 local partners. The 2014 Farm Bill reauthorized the program and expanded assistance to include military veterans.

Creation of a center for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research at an 1890 Land-Grant Institution was authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill. The Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center at Alcorn State University will provide a national hub for analysis and development of policy recommendations to improve engagement and promote the interests of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

OAO works across USDA agencies to improve the viability and profitability of small and beginning farmers and ranchers; improve access to USDA programs for historically underserved communities; increase agricultural opportunities for farm workers; and close the professional achievement gap by providing opportunities for diverse, talented young people to support the agricultural industry in the 21st century.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).