WASHINGTON (CBS19 NEWS) — Millions of dollars in funding are available to help historically underserved and veteran farmers and ranchers own and operate successful businesses.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday that about $35 million is available for community and nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education and tribal entities that help these farmers and ranchers.

Funding is available through the USDA’s Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Former Farmers and Ranchers program, also known as the 2501 program, according to a release.

“It has always been difficult for the beginning farmer, the young farmer, the specialty crop grower to access and use USDA programs, and even more so for farmers of color who have been denied the access because of historical discrimination in agricultural programs,” said OPPE Director Lisa Ramirez. “2501 funding helps historically underserved groups access and participate more fully in USDA programs and services.”

The 2501 program has been in existence for over 30 years and has helped farmers and ranchers who face barriers to service due to racial or ethnic bias.

In the 2014 Farm Bill, the program was expanded to include assistance for experienced farmers and ranchers.

In the 2018 version of the Farm Bill, the program’s mandatory funding was increased through fiscal year 2023.

The release says the 2501 funding enables organizations to conduct agriculture and agri-food education, training, demonstrations, and conferences, as well as increase access to programs and services in the industry. USDA.

Since 2010, this program has awarded more than 560 grants totaling more than $158 million.

Organizations that may be eligible include nonprofits, community organizations, and institutions of higher learning that serve African American, Native American, Alaska Native, Hispanic, Asian, and Pacific Islander communities.