The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing up to $50 million in cooperative agreements to support historically underserved farmers and ranchers with climate-smart agriculture and forestry. The Racial Justice and Equity Conservation Cooperative Agreements are available to entities and individuals for two-year projects that expand the delivery of conservation assistance to underserved farmers.
“Historically underserved producers face significant barriers in accessing USDA assistance for conservation and climate-smart agriculture,” said Terry Cosby, Chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. “USDA is committed to revising programs to be more equitable, and these producers deserve our support as they contribute to our vibrant and diverse agricultural communities.” The projects should help historically underserved farmers and ranchers in implementing conservation practices that:
- Improve soil health;
- Improve water quality;
- Provide habitat for local wildlife species of concern;
- Improve the environmental and economic performance of working agricultural land; and
- Build and strengthen local food projects that provide healthy food and economic opportunities.
Projects should remove barriers to access and reach historically underserved groups through a combination of program outreach and technical assistance in managing natural resources.
Who Is Eligible
Entities and individuals who provide outreach assistance to historically underserved groups are eligible, including Native American tribal governments and organizations, nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education and individuals.
Historically underserved producers include those who are considered beginning, limited resource, socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers.
How to Apply
Applications must be received by Oct. 25, 2021. See the grants.gov announcement for details and application instructions.
This NRCS assistance builds on other USDA assistance to help historically underserved producers. In July, USDA’s Risk Management Agency invested nearly $1 million in nine risk management education projects focused on historically underserved producers. Meanwhile, USDA’s Farm Service Agency announced in April its plans to establish partnerships with organizations to provide outreach and technical assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. FSA plans to announce those partnerships in the coming weeks.
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