Sen. Tina Smith Announces Up to $550 Million in American Rescue Plan Funding for Projects Supporting Underserved Producers, Career Development Opportunities for Next Generation of Agricultural Professionals

WASHINGTON, [9/7/22] – Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) announced up to $550 million in funding to support projects that enable underserved producers to access land, capital, and markets, and train the next, diverse generation of agricultural professionals. These investments are made possible by the American Rescue Plan Act, which Senator Smith helped pass earlier this year. 

“Agriculture is the backbone of Minnesota’s diverse economy,” said Sen. Smith. “With food shortages, supply chain snags and a tight labor market around the world, it’s vital we support and grow our farming sector here at home. This funding, which is made possible by the American Rescue Plan, will help underserved producers access land, capital, and markets while supporting career development opportunities for the next generation of farmers in Minnesota and around the country.”

The American Rescue Plan directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help ensure underserved producers have the resources, tools, programs, and technical support they need to succeed. As part of this mandate, the USDA will set up an independent Equity Commission to help underserved groups access USDA programs and services and direct resources to partner organizations working to help achieve these goals.

Of the $550 million in funding, $300 million will be used for Increasing Land, Capital and Market Access projects aimed at helping underserved producers. The deadline for partner organizations to apply for this funding is October 28, 2022.

Additionally, $250 million will go towards the Learning to Leading program, which creates career development opportunities for the next generation of agriculture professionals at minority-serving institutions. Eligible applicants are land-grant institutions, Native-serving institutions, certified Hispanic-serving institutions, and Insular Area institutions of higher education located in the U.S. territories. The deadline for applications is October 25, 2022.