USDA offers $2.5 million in grants for new farmer education

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden announced Tuesday that $2.5 million in grants is now available for new farmers’ education in about 20 programs the USDA offers.

The programs are for financial, disaster or technical assistance that new or underserved farmers may not be aware of. The USDA wants to focus on returning service members, underserved farmers, and urban farmers.

"We want to partner with nonprofits, colleges and universities who share USDA's priority of helping more Americans enter farming as a profession, whether they are new or underserved farmers, returning service members, minorities, women, and urban producers or those who sell their crops locally," Harden said.

The grants will be awarded to nonprofits and public higher education institutions through an application process. Organizations that qualify can receive awards between $20,000 and $100,000. An online informational session will be conducted on the USDA’s website Monday for groups that have questions about the application process.

This new funding is part of a focus on rural America and supports reform programs enacted by the 2014 Farm Bill. The USDA has implemented this legislation, which includes providing disaster relief and education on risk management, and expanding services to rural farming areas that were previously underserved.

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