Today, Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden announced the availability of $400,000 in funding to establish the Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center. The Center will be established at an 1890 Land-Grant college or university and will specialize in policy research impacting socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. Qualifying universities across the country are now invited to apply to be the Research Center's home.
"America's farmers and ranchers are more diverse than ever before and it is critical that our policies and programs reflect that," said Deputy Secretary Harden. "This Center will serve as another tool for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers to get the resources they need. It will also assist us in our efforts to help beginning farmers from all walks of life get their start in agriculture."
According to the 2012 Agricultural Census, minority and historically under-represented communities are part of the continued growth among new and beginning farmers and ranchers. According to the Census, 22 percent of all farmers were beginning farmers in 2012. That means 1 out of every 5 farmers operated a farm for less than 10 years.
Universities seeking to apply to host the Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center must apply in the next 30 days. Proposals must be received by September 11, 2014, at 5:00 pm EST, at www.grants.gov.
Last month, Deputy Secretary Harden announced the availability of over $9 million in outreach and technical assistance for minority farmers and ranchers and military veterans that are new to farming and ranching through the 2501 Program. The deadline for applications for 2501 Program funding has been extended to August 27, 2014, and applications must be submitted through www.grants.gov. More information about the 2501 Program is available at: www.outreach.usda.gov/grants/index.htm.
Today's announcement was made possible by the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.