In a news release, Wednesday, July 17, U.S. Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., stated U.S. Department of Agriculture is making up to $16 million available to eligible groups and organizations to fund efforts to get veterans and non-traditional farmers in Minnesota and across the country get into agriculture.

Smith, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, stated she pushed to reauthorize the funding during the debate over the 2018 Farm Bill, which was signed into law late last year. The funding is available through the USDA’s Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program, also known as the 2501 Program.

“Too often, Minnesota veterans or residents from communities who traditionally have not been involved in agriculture, find barriers to getting into farming,” Smith stated in the release. “The 2018 Farm Bill authorized funding to remedy that. 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.”

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.