WASHINGTON, Sept. 29, 2016 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced $8.4 million in grants that will be used by organizations in 24 states to provide training, outreach and technical assistance for socially disadvantaged, tribal and veteran farmers and ranchers.
"USDA was created to be 'The People's Department,' and in the past eight years we have made tremendous progress in correcting past mistakes and creating a more inclusive culture within our organization. Part of that legacy includes supporting farmers and ranchers with diverse backgrounds and experience levels," said Vilsack. "The grants announced today will be leveraged by local partners and help bring traditionally underserved people into farming, as well as veterans who want to return home to rural areas."
- Tuskegee University, Alabama, $200,000
- Alaska Tribal Conservation Alliance, Alaska $187,316
- Little Colorado River Plateau Resource Conservation and Development, Arizona, $200,000
- Developing Innovation in Navajo Education Inc., Arizona; also serving New Mexico $200,000
- Painted Desert Demonstration Projects, Inc., Arizona; also serving New Mexico and Utah, $199,599
- Arkansas Land & Community Development Corp., Arkansas, $199,583
- East Arkansas Enterprise Community, Arkansas, $199,165
- National Audubon Society, Inc., Arkansas, $142,182
- University Of Arkansas System, Arkansas, $200,000
- First Nations Development Institute, Colorado; also serving Tribal Communities throughout U.S., $200,000
- Florida A & M University, Florida, $148,368
- North South Institute, Inc., Florida, $199,507
- Global Growers Network Inc., Georgia, $196,698
- Lei Ho'olaha, Hawaii, $100,000
- The Kohala Center, Hawaii, $200,000
- Southern University Agricultural and Mechanical College, Louisiana; also serving Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia, $199,999
- Cultivating Community, Maine, $187,706
- Michigan Integrated Food & Farming Systems, Michigan, $199,998
- Red Lake Band Of Chippewa Indians, Minnesota, $104,342
- Fond Du Lac Tribal & Community College, Minnesota; also serving Michigan and Wisconsin, $179,381
- Tougaloo College, Mississippi, $200,000
- Mississippi Minority Farmers Alliance Inc., Mississippi, $200,000
- Mississippi Asso. of Cooperatives, Mississippi, $200,000
- Winston County Self Help, Mississippi, $200,000
- Tri-County Agricultural Cooperative, Mississippi, $200,000
- Rural Development Leadership Network, Mississippi; also serving New Mexico, $200,000
- Lincoln University, Missouri, $200,000
- University of Missouri System, Missouri, $179,614
- Fort Peck Community College, Montana, $198,506
- University Of Nevada, Reno, Nevada; also serving Idaho, Montana, Oregon, South Dakota, and Washington, $199,385
- Desert Forge Foundation, New Mexico, $200,000
- New Mexico Acequia Association, New Mexico, $116,339
- Canetoe Family Life Center, North Carolina, $199,738
- Whitaker Small Farm Group Inc., North Carolina, $199,955
- Asian Service Action Inc., Ohio, $199,722
- Oklahoma Women in Agriculture Association, Oklahoma, $200,000
- Langston University, Oklahoma, $187,890
- Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Oklahoma, $165,823
- Common Market Philadelphia Inc., Pennsylvania, $200,000
- Center For Heirs Property Preservation, South Carolina, $200,000
- Hunkpati Investments, Inc., South Dakota, $169,502
- Texas State University, Texas, $200,000
- National Immigrant Farming Initiative, Inc., Texas; also serving Florida, $197,588
- University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Texas; also serving New Mexico $199,977
- West Virginia State University, West Virginia, $199,973
Additionally, Alcorn State University will continue to administer the Socially Disadvantaged Policy Research Center with a $400,000 grant, providing analysis and development of policy recommendations to engage socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
These grants are provided through USDA's Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program, also known as the 2501 Program and administered by USDA's Office of Advocacy and Outreach (OAO). Since 2010, more than $83.8 million has been invested through the 2501 Program to leverage the work of local partners. The 2014 Farm Bill reauthorized the program and expanded the program mandate to include military Veterans.
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.
Secretary Vilsack has made it a priority to build a new era for civil rights at USDA and ensure that all customers and employees are treated fairly, and all Americans are treated with dignity and respect. Under Vilsack's leadership, USDA has reached historic settlement agreements with African-American and Native American farmers who have faced discrimination by USDA in past decades. USDA established the Office of Advocacy and Outreach in 2010 to improve access to USDA programs and enhance the viability and profitability of small, beginning, and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
USDA also created a streamlined claims process for Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers in 2011 to address past claims of discrimination.
For an interactive look at USDA's work to improve our Civil Rights record, visit the USDA Results project on Medium.com and read Chapter Eight: The People's Department: A New Era for Civil Rights at USDA.