Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers

To reverse the decline of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers across the United States.

The intended outcome is to encourage and assist socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers to own and operate their own farms and ranches, participate in agricultural programs, and thus allow them

to become an integral part of the agricultural community and strengthen the rural economy.

Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.

Office - Contact appropriate USDA State Office listed in Appendix IV of Catalog.

Relevant Nonprofit Program Categories

Program Accomplishments

The 27 recipients serviced 22 States and 394 counties by providing assistance to more than 8,686 farmers and ranchers. These efforts have provided outreach to more than 107,566 rural constituents.

Uses and Use Restrictions

To provide outreach, training and technical assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers on agricultural programs.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

1890 Land-Grant Institutions, including Tuskegee University, Indian Tribal Community Colleges, Alaska Native cooperative colleges, Hispanic serving post-secondary educational institutions, other post-secondary educational institutions providing Agricultural education or other agriculturally-related services to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers in their region and community-based organizations that: (1) Have demonstrated experience in providing agricultural education or other agriculturally related services to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers in their region; (2) provides documentary evidence of its past experience in working with socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers during the 2 years preceding its application for assistance; and (3) does not engage in activities prohibited under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

Beneficiary Eligibility

A farmer or rancher who is a member of one or more of the following groups whose members have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities. Groups include, but are not limited to, African-Americans, Native Americans, Alaskan Natives, Hispanics, Asians, and Pacific Islanders. The Secretary of Agriculture will determine on a case-by-case basis whether additional groups qualify under this definition, either at the Secretary's initiative or in response to a written request with supporting explanation.


Applicants must have the financial, legal, administrative, and operational capacity to carry out the objectives of the program by having experience in agriculture. Costs will be determined in accordance with OMB Circular No. A-122 "Cost Principles for Nonprofit Organizations" and OMB Circular No. A-21, "Cost Principles for Educational Institutions" as implemented by USDA regulation 7 CFR part 3019. Community-based organizations should provide a current certification of non-profit status in accordance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Notice of fund availability and request for proposals will be published in the Federal Register.

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

Formal proposals should be submitted as outlined in the solicitation of proposals/applications. Application procedures are contained in the 2501 Program Application booklet. This program is subject to the Administrative procedures of 7 CFR Part 26.

Award Procedures

Proposals are reviewed and evaluated by the 2501 Program staff members with the assistance and advice of a review panel of appropriate persons that are specialists who are qualified by training and experience in the fields covered by the proposals. Proposals are ranked and recommended in order of merit and funded to the extent permitted by available funds. Final approval for those proposals selected will be made by the Awarding Official.


Dates governing the acceptance, review, and selection of projects will be published in the Federal Register Notice or other applicable publication announcing the request for proposals.


Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990, Section 2501, Public Law 101-624, 7 U.S.C. 2279.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Notice of action taken on proposals will generally be within 90 days of final date of submission dateline.


As stipulated in OMB Circular No. A-110, Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and other Nonprofit Organizations.


None. Applicants that have previously received a grant, and have achieved the goals established for the previous grant, must reapply for an additional grant under the initial grant procedures.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements


Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Grants can be awarded from one to five years as stipulated by the current request for proposals notification published in the Federal Register.

Post Assistance Requirements


Quarterly financial and program performance/progress reports are due within 30 days after the reporting period.

A final financial and performance/progress report is required within 90 days of the expiration of each agreement, which shall include an evaluation of the activities under the Agreement since the inception of the Project.


In accordance with the provisions of 7 CFR Part 3052, "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," which implement OMB Circular No. A-133 (Revised, June 27, 2003), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations," Nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $500,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $500,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in 7 CFR 3052.


Grantees shall maintain separate records for each grant to ensure that funds are used for authorized purposes. Grant-related records must be retained at least three years; records must be retained beyond the three-year period if litigation is pending or audit findings have not been resolved.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Grants) FY 07 $5,666,890; FY 08 est $6,652,800; and FY 09 est not reported.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

FY 2001, 27 recipients - $62,941 to $550,000, average was approximately $225,000; and FY 2002, 30 recipients - $66,437 to $276,822, average was approximately $200,000.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

7 CFR Part 26, "Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Program; and 2501 Program Application Booklet.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

Contact appropriate USDA State Office listed in Appendix IV of Catalog.

Headquarters Office

Department of Agriculture, USDA Office of Outreach, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., AG STOP 1710, Washington, DC 20250. Telephone: (202)720-6350. Fax: (202) 720-7489.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Prior to technical examination, a preliminary review will be made for responsiveness to the solicitation. Proposals that do not fall within the solicitation guidelines will be eliminated from competition. All accepted proposals will be reviewed by a review panel. In evaluating the proposal, the following will be taken into account to the degree to which the proposal demonstrates the following: (1)degree to which the proposal clearly describes its objective and evidences a high level of feasibility and consistency with USDA policy and the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers objectives; (2)degree to which the institution or organization is committed to the project, as shown by funds, in-kind services, or historical success in meeting the objectives of the program; (3)degree to which the proposal reflects collaborative approaches in meeting with other agencies or organizations to enhance the objectives of the program. Also, the areas and number of farmers who would benefit from the services offered; (4)degree to which the proposal contains efforts to reach persons identified as socially disadvantaged and farmers in designated socially disadvantage counties; and (5)degree to which the proposal reflects special innovative features to attract, interest, and improve the economical and social conditions of the farmer and/or rancher.

The Social Incubator North, a £2 million incubator fund spearheaded by Sheffield-based Key Fund in collaboration with the four Northern Social Enterprise Partnerships and Locality, is providing 0% interest loans to North of England’s social entrepreneurs.

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