WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is helping to ensure that underserved farmers, ranchers, and foresters have the tools, programs and support they need to succeed in agriculture. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced USDA will provide approximately $75 million in American Rescue Plan funding to 20 organizations to provide technical assistance to connect underserved producers with USDA programs and services. Organizations were selected for their proven track records working with underserved producer communities, such as veterans, beginning farmers, limited resource producers, and producers living in high-poverty areas. These organizations will work with underserved producer communities on business and tax planning, financial assistance planning, market planning, farmer advocacy, and business curriculum development.
The cooperative agreements announced recently are an initial step in deploying American Rescue Plan resources in response to demands for more immediate assistance on farm business planning, market development and access assistance, tax planning and land access assistance, to help underserved producers succeed. This announcement is the latest in a series of announcements building momentum around USDA’s historic commitment to center equity in decision-making and policymaking and lower barriers to access USDA programming.
“As we build back better than we were before USDA is listening to our customers, and we are proud to offer new tools to help address inequities for underserved farmers and ranchers through the American Rescue Plan,” said Secretary Vilsack. “We are committed to making each of our programs equitable so all can benefit from the opportunities USDA investments and programs help create. Our planned work with these important cooperators will help USDA achieve these important goals.”
A full list of cooperators is available at: www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/documents/section-1006-list-of-cooperative-agreements.docx (DOCX, 13.9 KB). Cooperators will work with other cooperator organizations and USDA to address the needs of underserved producer communities. For example:
- The National Black Farmers Association will collaborate with organizations and will provide financial and business assistance and opportunities to receive USDA program technical support.
- The Intertribal Agriculture Council will lead training and technical assistance with Native American farmers, ranchers and forest landowners across the country.
- The Farmer Veteran Coalition will coordinate with other cooperators to focus on the needs of farmer and rancher veteran members.
To ensure these partnerships and future partnerships funded via these American Rescue Plan funds are robust, all recipients will work with USDA in intensive training and collaboration activities.
The American Rescue Plan Section 1006 provides direction and over $1 billion in funding for USDA to take action to ensure underserved communities have tools, programs and support they need to succeed. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to advancing equity as a key priority. With the transformative funds provided by the American Rescue Plan, USDA will focus on creating opportunity for underserved producers through technical assistance and capacity building, access to land and credit, and access to markets and market development. Through Section 1006, USDA is also standing up an Equity Commission to advise the Secretary of Agriculture by identifying USDA programs, policies, systems, structures, and practices that contribute to barriers to inclusion or access, systemic discrimination, or exacerbate or perpetuate racial, economic, health and social disparities. The Commission nomination period has been extended to Nov. 30, 2021.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.