USDA increases funding for education of historically underserved and small-scale farmers

Source: USDA news release



PINE BLUFF, Arkansas, - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced it is awarding $2.2 million to 16 organizations to educate historically underserved producers, small-scale farmers and others on farm risk management and climate-smart farm practices. The funding from USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA) provides the resources for organizations, such as nonprofits and universities, to develop training and resources for producers on risk management options.


"This funding and these partnerships help us reach communities that have historically lacked access to training and resources. Our risk management education partnerships are part of USDA's broader efforts to ensure equity and access to programs," said RMA Administrator Marcia Bunger while visiting the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, a historically black college and university and one of the 16 organizations receiving funding. "Agriculture is risky business and beginning growers and livestock producers need to understand the importance of applying risk management practices to their businesses."


This $2.2 million investment for 2022 builds on a nearly $1 million investment in 2021. RMA advertised available funding in January 2022, and more than 50 organizations applied. Successful applicants provided comprehensive summary of work statements and budgets, and proposals that demonstrated an ability to partner with other entities to deliver training. Organizations receiving funding this year include nonprofits, historically black colleges and universities, and university extensions, among others.


For example, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff will use the funding to provide financial, legal, and marketing risk education to underserved producers and limited resource producers in eastern and southwestern Arkansas.


"I was very glad to know that our project had been funded because it will give us an opportunity to provide risk management education to underserved producers," said Dr. Henry English, Director of the Small Farm Program at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. "In most cases underserved producers do not have access to risk management education."


In addition to the University of Pine Bluff at Arkansas, other recipients include:


  • The University of Arizona - Provides risk management training to growers on Tribal lands in Arizona and New Mexico.


  • Napa Valley Grape Growers - Trains wine-grape producers to mitigate risks related to climate change, drought, and pest and disease risk.


  • Up In Farms - Provides training on whole farm and micro farm policies to African American growers in Mississippi.


  • Rural South Institute - Educates African American producers on the basics of crop insurance and financial risk management in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi.


  • AgriLogic Consulting LLC - Delivers risk management, recordkeeping, and crop insurance training to veterans, new farmers, and others in North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas.


  • Adelante Mujeres - Provides regenerative agriculture courses, quarterly workshops, farm field trips, and one-on-one sessions for Hispanic growers in Oregon.


  • Michigan State University - Offers in-person networking and resource events for African American, beginning, and urban farmers to meet educators, lenders, and assistance providers.


  • Iowa Organic Association - Provides technical support for organic farmers seeking support and guidance about crop insurance, lending resources, and production mentorship.


  • MCL Jasco - Trains African American and beginning producers in Mississippi on financial management, farm financial benchmarking, crop insurance, and marketing contracts.


  • Alabama A&M University - Trains African American and veteran producers on crop insurance, risk management tools and strategies, with hands-on educational outreach program.


  • Center for Rural Affairs - Focuses training on cover crops and relay cropping, new and existing related coverage options, and cost share options in Iowa, Nebraska, and Wisconsin.


  • The Gleaning Network of Texas - Provides targeted risk management assistance to direct marketing farmers in North Texas, with an emphasis on specialty crop growers.


  • RightRisk LLC - Delivers crop insurance and other risk management training to beginning producers in Alaska


  • Organic Trade Association - Creates durable educational materials for organic producers in 19 states, including videos, online courses, podcasts, and webinars on crop insurance.


  • Farm Commons - Provides intimate peer-to-peer learning format farmers prefer with the wide reach and constant availability of a podcast.


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