USDA Accepting Applications for the 2501 Program

The USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE) is accepting applications for the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers (2501 Program) with a maximum funding level of $750,000 over three years. Applications are due August 25, 2021.

What is the 2501 Program? The overall goal of the 2501 Program is to encourage and assist socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, veteran farmers and ranchers, and beginning farmers and ranchers with owning and operating farms and ranches and in participating equitably in the full range of agricultural, forestry, and related programs offered by USDA.

In partnership with the OPPE, eligible entities may compete for funding on projects that provide education and training in agriculture, agribusiness, forestry, agriculturally related services, and USDA programs and to conduct outreach initiatives designed to accomplish those goals. This partnership includes working closely with the OPPE, attending OPPE-led events in the proposed service territory, and collaborating with the State Food and Agriculture Council (Farm Service Agency, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Rural Development.)

Who is eligible to apply? Eligible applicants for the 2501 Program include:

  • Any non-profit, community-based organizations, tribal entity, networks, or a coalition of community-based organizations with at least 3 years of documented expertise in working with socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers or veteran farmers or ranchers that:
    • Demonstrates experience in providing agricultural education or other agriculturally related services on USDA programs and services to socially disadvantaged or veteran farmers or ranchers;
    • Provides documentary evidence of work with, and on behalf of, socially disadvantaged, veteran farmers or ranchers, or beginning farmers and ranchers during the 3-year period preceding the submission of a proposal for assistance under this program (the lead applicant and/or any organization(s) comprising of a coalition or network must meet the three-year period preceding the submission criteria); and
    • Does not or has not engaged in activities prohibited under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.2
  • An 1890 or 1994 land-grant institution of higher education.
  • An American Indian Tribal community college or an Alaska Native cooperative college.
  • A Hispanic-Serving Institution of higher education.
  • Any other institution of higher education that has demonstrated experience in providing agricultural education or other agricultural-related services to socially disadvantaged or veteran farmers or ranchers.
  • Any Federally-recognized Indian Tribe or a national tribal organization that has demonstrated experience in providing agricultural education or other agriculturally related services to socially disadvantaged or veteran farmers or ranchers.
  • All other organizations or institutions that received funding under this program before January 1, 1996, but only with respect to projects that the USDA Secretary of Agriculture (Secretary) considers similar to projects previously carried out by the entity under this program.

What projects are eligible? The project (and its funds) must exclusively:

  • Enhance coordination of the outreach, education, and training efforts authorized under agriculture programs;
  • Assist the Secretary in:
    • Reaching current and prospective socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers or veteran farmers or ranchers in a linguistically appropriate manner; and
    • Improving the participation of those farmers and ranchers in USDA programs.

Additionally, proposals from eligible entities must address at least two of the five following programmatic mission areas:

  1. Assist socially disadvantaged, veteran farmers and ranchers, or beginning farmers and ranchers in owning and operating successful farms and ranches;
  2. Improve participation among socially disadvantaged or veteran farmers and ranchers in USDA programs;
  3. Build relationships between current and prospective farmers and ranchers who are socially disadvantaged or veterans and USDA’s local, state, regional, and National offices;
  4. Assist in reaching current and prospective socially disadvantaged farmers, ranchers, or forest landowners in a linguistically appropriate manner; and
  5. Assist with identifying problems and barriers identified by entities in trying to increase participation by current and prospective socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers.

Are than any other priorities for the 2501 Program? The OPPE will award five priority points to nongovernmental and community-based organizations with demonstrated history of serving socially disadvantaged and can provide agricultural outreach and technical assistance and extend outreach and education efforts to connect with and assist socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers to provide them with information on available USDA resources.

In addition, the OPPE may award up to 30 priority points (six points for each bullet shown below) as follows:

  • Projects with a focus on socially disadvantaged and veteran
    • heirs’ property issues/resolutions;
    • financial literacy and business planning;
    • increased profitability of agricultural operations of through effective and proven marketing opportunities to increase access to capital and markets.
  • Projects that align with the implementation of Secretarial priorities to:
    • Increase land access, resolve heir’s property and other land title issues, advance education and career pathways related to farming, ranching, forestry and agriculture, or increase access to credit;
    • Provide avenues for producers to be part of strengthening the food supply chain and building a food system that is fair, resilient, distributed, and equitable and that contributes to socially disadvantaged and veteran producer’s ability to make a living, e.g., via more and better markets;
    • Promote the use of multiple USDA programs within USDA along with partnering and promoting assistance available outside of USDA (this includes state, local, tribal, and other Federal resources); and
    • Generate and maintain wealth in and for rural and tribal communities via local and regional business opportunities and other rural development efforts designed to advance economic, social and health equity.
  • Projects that address climate change with climate smart ag and forestry solutions including, but not limited to:
    • Building resilience to climate change and increasing agricultural productivity;
    • efficient and renewable energy practices; and
    • soil, land, and water conservation practices that preserve natural and agricultural ecosystems.
  • Projects that focus on removing systemic barriers and increase equitable participation in USDA’s programs and services, especially projects located in rural communities and persistent poverty census tracts and/or counties;
  • Projects designed to access and create new and fair market opportunities to assist socially disadvantaged, veteran, beginning farmers and/or ranchers (including youth projects).

What is the funding level for the 2501 Program? The maximum funding level is $750,000 over the project period; the maximum award per year is $250,000. The total funding availability for this program is approximately $16.6 million as provided in the 2018 Farm Bill.

Is there a cost-sharing or match requirement? There are no cost-sharing nor matching requirements associated with this program.

What is the project duration?  The project period must be three years for all proposals.

When are applications due? Applications must be submitted no later than August 25, 2021 at 11:59 pm Eastern Time.

The full Funding Opportunity Announcement is available here.

For more information on this grant or how to apply with Morrison’s assistance, please contact the Morrison Grants Team by email at or call us at 530-893-4764


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