USDA Announces $16.6 Million in Funding Opportunities to Support Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers

WASHINGTON, July 26, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced approximately $16.6 million in available funding to community-based and nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education, and Tribal entities that help socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers own and operate successful farms.

Funding is made through the USDA’s Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (also known as the 2501 Program). The 2501 program is administered by the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE).

“USDA is committed to removing barriers to access,” said Dr. Lisa Ramirez, director of the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement. “The 2501 program helps connect historically disadvantaged groups with USDA financing and programming.”

For more than 30 years, and in partnership with organizations nationwide, the 2501 Program has helped reach socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers who have experienced barriers to service due to racial or ethnic prejudice. The 2014 Farm Bill expanded the program to include assistance to veteran farmers and ranchers. The 2018 Farm Bill increased mandatory funding for the program through fiscal year 2023. With 2501 Program grants, nonprofits, institutions of higher education and federally recognized Indian Tribes can support socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers through education, training, farming demonstrations, and conferences on farming and agribusiness, and by increasing access to USDA’s programs and services.

Since 2010, 534 grants totaling more than $138 million have been awarded. Among recent FY 2020 grantees, North South Institute in Sunrise, Florida received a 2501 grant for demonstrations and training to help African American and veteran farmers and ranchers create resilient, sustainable farming operations. The New Mexico Acequia Association (NMAA) in Santa Fe, New Mexico trains Hispanic farmers and youth in how to use acequias (communal irrigation canals) for small-scale farming, and assists farmers in applying for USDA programs.

Eligible 2501 Program applicants include not-for-profit organizations, community-based organizations, and a range of higher education institutions serving African American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Hispanic, Asian, and Pacific Islander communities.

The deadline for applications is August 25, 2021, at 11:59pm EST. See the request for applications for full details.

Learn more about this funding opportunity through upcoming webinars:

Session 1: July 28, 2021, at 2 p.m. EDT

Web conference link –
Follow the prompts to connect audio by computer or telephone. If you are unable to join the web conference or require a non-U.S. phone number, use our teleconference link, access code: 5066171#

Session 2: August 10, 2021, at 2 p.m. EDT

Web conference link –
Follow the prompts to connect audio by computer or telephone. If you are unable to join the web conference or require a non-U.S. phone number, use our teleconference link, access code: 7821646#

Call for Peer Review Panelists

USDA seeks qualified individuals to serve as peer reviewers to evaluate 2501 program proposals for fiscal year 2021. The peer review approach brings together diverse individuals who can provide fair, expert, and unbiased evaluation of proposals. The process ensures that grant projects are properly planned, competition is open and fair, proposed budgets are carefully examined, and grant awards are structured to protect the interests of the government. The entire review process will be conducted virtually for approximately three to four weeks. Selected reviewers will receive compensation. Visit the OPPE website for full details on the 2501 Call for Peer Review Panelists. If you are interested in serving on the peer review panel, and your affiliated organization is not applying for a 2501 grant, please send your resume to [email protected], no later than August 6, 2021, for consideration.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit