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USDA earmarks $16 million for grants to assist socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers

The USDA has increased funding for a grant program to aid socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers.

The department announced the availability of $16.6 million 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.

2501 Program grants allow nonprofits, higher education institutes, and federally recognized Indian Tribes to support those farmers through education, training, farming demonstrations, agribusiness conferences and by increasing access to USDA programs and services.

Educational institutes, nonprofits and community-based organizations eligible for the grants are ones that serve African American, American Indian, Alaskan Native, Hispanic, Asian and Pacific Islander communities.

The program has been in place for more than 30 years, but the 2018 farm Bill increased mandatory funding for the program through fiscal year 2023. More than 500 grants exceeding $138 million have been awarded through the 2501 Program since 2010.

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