Aug 24, 2022 - Politics & Policy

USDA to allocate $550 million to support poor and marginalized farmers

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaking at an summit in National Harbor, Maryland, in June 2022.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaking at an summit in National Harbor, Maryland, in June 2022. Photo: Ting Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday it will allocate $550 million to support poor and marginalized farmers access land, capital, markets and education and to increase diversity within the agriculture sector.

Why it matters: The money will be provided through two provisions within the $740 billion Inflation Reduction Act that President Biden signed into law last week.

What they're saying: “These funding opportunities are historic and part of USDA’s unwavering commitment to advancing equity for all, including people who have been underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement.

  • When we address longstanding inequities, our entire country benefits. Land access, heirs’ property, affordable credit and access to reliable markets — along with consistent access to help from well-trained experts — are essential to strengthening our communities," he added.
  • "USDA is equally committed to partnering with minority-serving institutions to establish exciting and fulfilling pathways for Next Generation leaders to have careers in agriculture, nutrition, food, development, and in the federal government.”

The big picture: Up to $300 million will go toward projects that "increase access to land, capital, and markets" for underserved producers, the department said.

  • $250 million will go to a program that will support students at "eligible minority-serving institutions for careers in food, agriculture, and related disciplines."

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