Congressman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is awarding up to $550 million in funding to support projects for underserved farmers.
USDA also has provided $75 million for partnership agreements with 20 organizations such as the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, the National Black Farmers Association, the Socially Disadvantaged Farmer and Rancher Policy Center at Alcorn State University, and the National Black Growers Council.
These organizations will deliver technical assistance and support for underserved producers, including veterans, limited resources producers, beginning farmers and ranchers, and producers living in high-poverty areas on topics ranging from business development to heirs’ property.
Up to $300 million is being allocated for “Increasing Land, Capital and Market Access” projects aimed at helping underserved producers. Projects must focus on strengthening land access with at least one of the following related areas of concern: capital access concerns that affect the ability to access land; market access concerns that affect the ability to access land; or a combination of one or more of land, capital, and market access concerns.
$250 million will be used for the “From Learning to Leading: Cultivating the Next Generation of Diverse Food and Agriculture Professionals” program to create career development opportunities for next-generation scholars at minority-serving institutions. Eligible applicants are 1890 land-grant institutions, 1994 land-grant institutions, Alaska Native-serving institutions, Native Hawaiian-serving institutions, certified Hispanic-serving institutions, and Insular Area institutions of higher education located in the U.S. territories.
These investments are made through funding provided in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Section 1006, as amended by Section 22007 of the Inflation Reduction Act. The provisions fund and direct USDA to take action to help ensure underserved producers have the resources, tools, programs, and technical support they need to succeed.