The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced recently is is giving a second round of grant funds to a number of educational institutions with the intent of helping socially disadvantaged producers and farm equipment users.
As part of the Outreach Assistance to Socially Disadvantaged farmers and Ranchers Competitive Grants Program, six universities will receive hundreds of thousands of dollars to help their outreach and assistance program. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the USDA and the Obama administration have made a commitment to reach out to Americans from all backgrounds.
"These grants will help develop programs to ensure that minority landowners have access to a full range of USDA programs, helping them increase their profitability and stay on the farm," Vilsack said.
Along with supporting the universities' efforts, the grants will help farmers acquire farm and ranch property while ensuring they have access to all the programs available through the USDA.
A number of USDA initiatives exist to help new and minority farmers. The department views this as important for a number of reasons, including keeping the rural economy vital.