Funding Opportunity Announcement for Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers - Due August 26, 2020

The USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE) is accepting applications for the Outreach and Assistance with Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers - 2501 Program with a maximum funding level of $450,000. There is no matching requirement.  

What is the Outreach and Assistance with Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers (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 USDA Liaisons to coordinate outreach and training initiatives, attend OPPE-led events in applicant’s proposed service territory, and collaborate with applicant’s State Food and Agriculture Council (Farm Service Agency, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Rural Development.)

Who is eligible to apply?

Eligible applicants are as follows:

  1. Any non-profit, community-based organizations, 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:
    1. Demonstrates experience in providing agricultural education or other agriculturally related services on USDA programs and services to socially disadvantaged or veteran farmers or ranchers;
    2. Provides documentary evidence of work with, and on behalf of, socially disadvantaged or veteran farmers or ranchers during the 3-year period preceding the submission of a proposal for assistance under this program; and
    3. 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 institution of higher education (as defined in 7 U.S.C. 7601).
  3. An American Indian Tribal community college or an Alaska Native cooperative college.
  4. A Hispanic-Serving Institution of higher education (as defined in 7 U.S.C.3103).
  5. Any other institution of higher education (as defined in 20 U.S.C. 1001) that has demonstrated experience in providing agricultural education or other agricultural-related services to socially disadvantaged or veteran farmers or ranchers.
  6. An Indian Tribe (as defined in 25 U.S.C. 5304) 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.
  7. All other organizations or institutions that received funding under this program before January 1, 1996, but only with respect to projects that the Secretary considers similar to projects previously carried out by the entity under this program.

What projects are eligible?

The education, training and outreach program funds shall be used exclusively:

  1. To enhance coordination of the outreach, education, and training efforts authorized under agriculture programs;
  2. To assist the Secretary of Agriculture in:
    1. Reaching current and prospective socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers or veteran farmers or ranchers in a linguistically appropriate manner; and
    2. Improving the participation of those farmers and ranchers in USDA programs.

What are the five priority areas of the 2501 Program?

Proposals from eligible entities must address at least two of the five following priority areas:

  1. Assist socially disadvantaged or veteran 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. Introduce agriculture-related information to socially disadvantaged or veteran farmers and ranchers through innovative training and technical assistance techniques; and
  5. Introduce agricultural education targeting youth and beginning socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers in rural and persistent poverty communities.

.What kind of projects will be given highest consideration?

The OPPE will award discretionary points for the following:

  • Nongovernmental and community-based organizations with a documented history working with socially disadvantaged and/or veteran farmers or ranchers (2018 Farm Bill provision).
  • Projects that are carried out in states or communities identified as Opportunity Zones.
  • Projects located in rural or persistent poverty communities that address the following five (5) priorities: e- Connectivity, Economic Development, Innovation and Technology, Workforce Development, and Quality of Life (such as reducing recidivism, access to mental health programs, etc.). See the USDA Rural Task Force Report.
  • Projects designed to assist socially disadvantaged beginning and/or youth farmers and/or ranchers (as defined in 7 U.S.C. 2279);
  • Projects with an emphasis on partnering and leveraging funding with other organizations, entities or programs to maximize areas of coverage in conducting training and outreach services (i.e., nonprofits, for profits, Federal, state, tribal and local entities, higher education institutions, etc.). Partners’ roles and responsibilities must be defined to determine the involvement and efforts to increase training and outreach to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers to qualify for these points.
  • Projects with a focus on socially disadvantaged and veteran heirs’ property issues/resolution; financial literacy; and in- creased profitability of agricultural operations of socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers through effective and proven marketing opportunities to increase access to capital and markets.

What is the funding level for the 2501 Program?

The maximum funding level is $450,000 over the project period; the maximum award per year is $150,000. The total funding availability for this program for FY 2020 and 2021 is approximately $15 million.

Is there a cost-sharing/ match requirement?

There is no cost-sharing/matching requirement for this grant.

What is the project duration?

The maximum project period is three years.

When are applications due? Applications must be submitted no later than August 26, 2020 at 11:59 pm Eastern Time.

The full Funding Opportunity Announcement is available here. Please note this has not been updated to reflect the amended earlier due date, which was noted in the July 14 teleconference. 

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

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