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NEWS RELEASE

USDA Awards Grants to Assist Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers

Release No. 0302.03
Marti Asner (202) 720-8188

WASHINGTON, Sept. 03, 2003--Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman today announced that USDA is awarding 34 competitive grants totaling more than $6.4 million to strengthen efforts aimed at serving minority and disadvantaged farmers.

“We are committed to helping the nation’s minority and disadvantaged farmers,” said Veneman. “The grants will help many farmers and ranchers to successfully acquire, own, operate and retain farms and ranches by delivering a wide range of outreach and assistance activities including farm management, financial management and marketing.”

The grants announced today are part of the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers (OASDFR) Program, also referred to as the 2501, and are administered by USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES), USDA’s leading research and education funding agency. 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.

Veneman said that USDA is working to improve services to minority and socially disadvantaged farmers including creating USDA’s Office of Minority and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers Assistance (MSDA), established almost a year ago to work with minority and socially disadvantaged farmers who have concerns and questions about loan applications. The office, operated by the Farm Service Agency, is open from Monday to Friday, 8 to 5 p.m. Eastern Time, and can be reached by calling 1-866-538-2610 (toll free) or 202-720-1584 (local). In addition, Vernon Parker, assistant secretary for Civil Rights, is increasing communications with various groups about improving access to USDA programs and insuring compliance with civil rights laws and regulations.

Of the 34 organizations that will receive an award, 20 are land grant colleges and universities, 11 are not-for-profit organizations that serve socially disadvantaged farmers, and three are non-land grant universities.

Those receiving grants include:

Institution State Award Amount

Ogallala Lakota College, South Dakota
$300,000

New Mexico State University, New Mexico
284,640

Arkansas Land and Farm Development Corporation, Arkansas
300,000

University of California, Davis California
298,744

Agriculture and Land-based Training Association, California
200,000

Tuskegee University, Alabama
200,000

Alabama A & M University, Alabama
200,000

Southern University, Louisiana
200,000

University of Texas Pan-American, Texas
200,000

Tufts University, Multiple
200,000

Fort Berthold Community College, North Dakota
100,000

Hmong American Community, California
100,000

University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Maryland
200,000

Federation of Southern Cooperatives, Georgia
200,000

National Center for Appropriate Technology, Montana
162,703

Mississippi Association of Cooperatives, Mississippi
200,000

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Arkansas
200,000

Fort Valley State University, Georgia
200,000

Fort Peck Community College, Montana
200,000

Kentucky State University, Kentucky
200,000

University of Vermont, Vermont
200,000

California S07/25/2007 200,000

Alcorn State University, Mississippi
200,000

Langston University, Oklahoma
200,000

Little Big Horn College, Montana
200,000

Hispanic Farmers and Ranchers of America, Multiple
200,000

North Carolina A & T State University, North Carolina
200,000

Virginia State University, Virginia
200,000

Michigan Integrated Food & Farming Systems, Inc, Michigan
200,000

Lincoln University, Missouri
200,000

Rural and Community Development Resources

Texas/Mexico Border Coalition (Conference Grant)
Washington

Texas
200,000

25,000

The Food Trust (Conference Grant), Pennsylvania
25,000

University of California, Davis (Conference Grant), California
16,735