Twenty-six farmers of color received honors today in Washington, DC from U.S. Department of Agriculture head Tom Vilsack.
The minority farmers completed a two-year program at the Small Farmer Agricultural Leadership Training Institute. The USDA said the program offers socially disadvantaged, limited resource farmers such as those who cannot afford farm equipment and farmers of color the knowledge to become successful entrepreneurs.
Students in the program study the effects of global agriculture on the U.S. economy, leadership and analytical skills, business management and marketing, communications, and public policy, USDA said.
Participants were from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky, Texas, Missouri, Tennessee, South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Maryland and North Carolina.
"President Obama recognizes that small farm operators are the custodians of about 48 percent of this nation's farm and ranch land," Vilsack said. "It's vital that we support programs such as this that provide the tools needed to promote the sustainability of small family farms."
USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service administers and funds the program.
Today's ceremony was held in the Jamie L. Whitten Building.