US - The US Department of Agriculture has announced $8.4 million of funding to provide training, outreach and technical assistance for socially disadvantaged, tribal and veteran farmers and ranchers.
USDA said the funding was aimed at supporting a diverse set of farmers for the next generation.
An additional $400,000 will help establish the Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center at Alcorn State University in Lorman, Miss.
"Today's announcement is part of our ongoing commitment to support an agricultural landscape where there is room and opportunity for all," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
"Agriculture is just like any other business - it needs people from diverse backgrounds and experience levels in order to reach its full potential and meet the challenges of tomorrow.
"Identifying, recruiting and training a vibrant next generation of American farmers and ranchers has never been more exciting or more urgent than it is right now."
Among the recipients, 31 partner organisations serve persistent poverty counties that are part of USDA's StrikeForce for Rural Growth and Opportunity Initiative. Twenty-five of the partnerships include resources for veterans interested in farming and 12 focus on tribal communities.
Examples include a $200,000 grant in Minnesota and western Wisconsin to support the Latino Economic Development Center in assisting low-income, beginning Latino and Hmong farmers by providing direct training and assistance to increase land ownership, profitability and sustainability.
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