USDA Invests $550 Million to Assist Underserved Producers: Funding Seeks to Increase Access to Land, Capital, and Markets and to Train the Next Generation of Agricultural Professionals

Posted on Thursday, October 20th, 2022 by Guest Blogger
Picture from USDA

This blog is reposted from National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) NSAC advocates for federal policy reform for the sustainability of food systems, natural resources, and rural communities and CalCAN is a member. See the original post here.

USDA Funding to Assist Underserved Producers

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making a historic new investment to fund and direct action to help underserved producers with the resources, tools, programs, and technical assistance they need to succeed in agriculture. With funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Section 1006, as amended by Section 22007 of the Inflation Reduction Act, USDA will make available $550 million for projects that enable underserved producers to access land, capital, and markets, as well as train the next generation of agricultural professionals.

Building on previous efforts to increase technical assistance, USDA is also investing in other initiatives to support underserved farmers. This includes funding for the following two programs:

$300 million for Increasing Land, Capital, and Market Access Projects Aimed at Helping Underserved Producers.

This new funding opportunity, offered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), is geared toward building partnerships with organizations to develop projects aimed at increasing land access, capital, and markets. Projects will focus on at least one of the following areas of concern:

  • Lack of capital that hinder land access
  • Market concerns that affect land access, or the
  • Combination of one or more land, capital, and market access challenges

The application deadline for the Request for Applications for the Increasing Land, Capital, and Market Access Projects is October 28, 2022. USDA will be holding a webinar on October 20th at 2 pm EST to review and address frequently asked questions regarding this program. Register here. For more information, check out the Farm Service Agency’s FAQ – Increasing Land, Capital, and Market Access Program. All other questions can be referred to

In addition, the National Young Farmers Coalition, an NSAC member, is leading an organizational sign-on a letter requesting a 30-day extension of the application deadline for this program. Find out more and sign-on here.

$250 million for the “From Learning to Leading” (NEXTGEN) Program Aimed at Career Development Opportunities for Next Generation Scholars at Minority-Serving Institutions

This competitive funding opportunity, offered by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), is focused on attracting and retaining diverse, talented students from eligible minority-serving institutions for careers in food and agriculture, and specifically for federal government employment. Institutions eligible for this program include:

  • 1890 land-grant institutions
  • 1994 land-grant institutions
  • Alaska Native-serving institutions
  • Native Hawaiian-serving institutions
  • Certified Hispanic-Serving Institutions
  • Insular area institutions of higher education in US territories

The application deadline for the Request for Applications for the Next Gen grant opportunity has been extended to November 15, 2022. Click here for more information.

Both of these program investments are meant to address USDA’s legacy of inequitable treatment and action towards underserved communities, including Black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian American, and other producers of color. This funding announcement signals USDA’s more recent commitment to prioritizing racial and social equity through the Department’s programming in order to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce, reduce barriers to access for producers, and ensure that USDA programs are inclusive of all people.

Stay Connected
Get newsletter and blog updates and action alerts from CalCAN