Push Follows Trump Administration Decision to Divert Funds Away From Section 2501 Program That Addresses Needs of Black, American-Indian, Asian-American, Latino and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers
U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, joined a bicameral call for continued investment in socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers, many of whom have been hit hard by the pandemic and are in need of direct support.
In a letter to the USDA, Senator Gillibrand, alongside her colleagues Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Tom Udall (D-NM) and Representative Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), expressed concerns over the Trump administration’s decision to divert funding away from the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers program (2501 program) and instead redirect this year’s 2501 appropriations to the newly created Centers for Community Prosperity (CCP) initiative.
“Small farms are the backbone of New York’s rural economy, yet veteran farmers and Black, American-Indian, Asian-American, and Latino farmers are being overlooked when they need support the most,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Before the pandemic, farmers across New York faced economic hardship caused by tight margins, growing debt, natural disasters, and an unstable trade market. Now many of these small farms may not survive, especially given that communities of color have been hardest hit by the pandemic. Funding the valuable 2501 program will not only help the farmers, but also bolster rural and underserved economies that have been devastated by this crisis. It’s critical the USDA answer questions about the new CCP initiative so that we can ensure these underserved farmers are receiving our full support.”
The 2501 program is the only Farm Bill program dedicated to addressing the specific needs of Black, American-Indian, Asian-American, Latino, and military veteran family farmers and ranchers.
It aims to reverse the disparities that have existed for these historically underserved communities by funding innovative outreach and technical assistance programs through the community-based organizations, tribes, and educational institutions best prepared to reach and serve them.
However, appropriations for the program have recently been redirected to the Trump administration’s newly created CCP initiative, which was created without
a vital input and consultation with 2501 stakeholders and the communities of color and veterans that they serve.
Full text of the letter can be found here.