U.S. Senator Tina Smith Announces $22.3 Million in USDA Funding Available to Organizations Helping Veterans, Non-traditional Farmers Get into Agriculture

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-Minn.) announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making up to $22.3 million available to fund efforts that help non-traditional farmers and veterans in Minnesota and across the country get into agriculture.

“Too often, Minnesota residents from communities who traditionally have not been involved in agriculture, as well as veterans, find barriers to getting into farming,” said Sen Smith. “The 2501 Program helps to remedy that, and I’m proud to champion its reauthorization in the Senate. These funds are available to groups, organizations, and higher education institutions that want to assist them in getting started. I encourage those eligible to apply for this opportunity.”  

Sen. Smith, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, leads the bill in the Senate to reauthorize the “Farming Opportunities Training and Outreach Grant Program” – or the 2501 Program – that is funded by USDA and set to be included in the Farm Bill. Smith has long been a champion of the 2501 Program and pushed to reauthorize and expand the funding during the debate over the 2018 Farm Bill – which was ultimately signed into law.

Information on how to apply can be found below:

Eligible applicants include not-for-profit organizations, community-based organizations, and a range of higher education institutions serving African-American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Hispanic, Asian, and Pacific Islander communities.  

The deadline for applications is July 15, 2024. See the 2501 Program page for more information on the 2501 funding opportunity.

USDA Teleconferences to Help With Application Process

USDA will host two teleconferences during the open period of this announcement to answer questions from interested applicants.  

Session 1: May 22, 2024, at 2 p.m. EDT

Session 2: June 26, 2024, at 2 p.m. EDT