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Secretary Vilsack Announces More Than $6 Million to Train Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers


WASHINGTON. - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced more than $6 million in grants to institutions and organizations who conduct training, outreach and technical assistance for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

“These programs are designed to help producers develop new profitable farming practices and increase their farm or ranch income,” Vilsack said. “President Obama has pledged to ensure that government is inclusive and USDA is committed to that pledge and to opportunities that support a diverse population of producers who might not otherwise seek our support.”

These grants enable organizations to help farmers and ranchers successfully acquire, own, operate and retain farms and ranches and to assure equitable participation in the full range of USDA programs. Local and regional impacts include participants setting up production and marketing cooperatives, participating in policy-making agriculture boards, improving environmental quality and improving their profitability and sustainability.

USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) administers the grants though it’s Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers program. This competitive grants program is open to institutions of higher education and community-based non-profit organizations that provide capacity-building training and assistance to local farmers and ranchers. A socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher is one of a group whose members have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice without regard to their individual qualities.

Fiscal year 2008 awards include:

* Alabama A&M University, $300,000
* Tuskegee University, $300,000
* University of Alaska - Anchorage, $297,513
* Arkansas Land and Farm Development Corporation, $279,436
* University of Arkansas - Pine Bluff, $300,000
* University of California, $189,975
* Delaware State University, $299,908
* Florida A&M University, $299,835
* Federation of Southern Cooperatives, Inc., $299,370
* University of Hawaii, $297,224
* University of Hawaii - Hilo, $300,000
* Alcorn State University, $299,331
* Tufts University, $299,617
* Mississippi Association of Cooperatives, $290,000
* New Mexico State University, $296,000
* The North Carolina Coalition of Farm and Rural Families, $300,000
* Langston University, $300,000
* Mvskoke Food Sovereignty Initiative, $265,523
* South Dakota State University, $289,245
* Tennessee State University, $300,000
* North-South Institute, $299,155

Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, CSREES focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people’s daily lives and the nation’s future. For more information, visit


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