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USDA approves nearly $18.7 million in grants for its Socially Disadvantaged Farmers, including HBCUs

Updated: Jan 10, 2022

A federal judge blocked a massive debt relief program that Congress outlined in the American Rescue Plan Act. However, the agency has provided historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and other institutions with grant funding for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) farmers, veterans, immigrants, and refugees.

USDA Grants, Loans, and Assistance

The USDA’s 2021 funded projects included nearly $18.7 million in grants for its Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program, also known as the 2501 Program.

According to the USDA, the group of “socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers,” sometimes referred to by the agency as "SDFRs," “includes producers who are one or more of the following: Black/African American, American Indian, Alaskan Native, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American, or Pacific Islander.”

A list of the 2501 grants to institutions such as universities and non-profit associations include descriptions of the recipient projects. These descriptions do not specifically mention hemp; however, they highlight broad agriculture-related education, including workshops and trainings focused on agri-tourism, good agricultural practices, and “agribusiness management literacy trainings.” The institutions receiving the grants, which include HBCUs, aim to work with groups such as BIPOC farmers, veterans, immigrants, and refugees.

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