Agency Notes Pandemic Funds Availability

WASHINGTON—The Farm Service Agency of the federal Department of Agriculture has available $2 million to establish partnerships with organizations working to provide technical assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

The funding is from the new Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative of the department, an effort to distribute resources more broadly and to put greater emphasis on outreach to small and socially disadvantaged producers affected by the pandemic, a statement said.

The day of the announcement earlier this week marks the reopening of the federal department’s  Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 signup as part of the Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative.

Farmers and ranchers will have at least 60 days to apply or make modifications to existing applications, a spokesman said.

The cooperative agreements will support participation in programs offered by FSA, including those that are part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. Interested organizations must submit proposals by May 5.

“USDA is committed to making financial assistance available to a broader set of producers, including to socially disadvantaged communities, and we know that we need partners to help make that happen,” said FSA administrator Zach Ducheneaux.

“This funding will support grassroots organizations and public institutions as we support their producers.

“I am excited to see their innovative, results-driven proposals to help us reach our producers, especially those who have not taken full advantage of the available assistance.”

The administrator said outreach and technical assistance cooperative agreements support projects that:

  • Increase access and participation of socially disadvantaged applicants in FSA programs and services.
  • Improve technical assistance for socially disadvantaged applicants related to county committees focused on urban agriculture as well as FSA programs, including loan, disaster assistance, conservation and safety-net programs.

FSA will prioritize review of proposals that support outreach on CFAP 2, it was said.

To ensure effective outreach during the signup period for CFAP 2, these applications will be reviewed immediately following the submission deadline for prioritized approval and project initiation.

This funding opportunity is available to non-profits having a 501(c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service (other than institutions of higher education), federally recognized Native American tribal governments, Native American tribal organizations (other than federally recognized tribal governments), and public and state-controlled institutions of higher education, including 1890 land grant institutions and 1994 tribal land-grant colleges and universities.

Awards will range from $20,000 to $99,999 for a duration between six months and one year. Applications focusing primarily on CFAP 2 will be expedited.

For other proposals, FSA anticipates announcing or notifying successful and unsuccessful applicants by June 20 and expects to have Federal awards in place by Sept. 1, it was said.

Those interested may view the cooperative agreement opportunity on grants.gov (No. USDA-FSA-MULTI-21-NOFO0001104) or visit fsa.usda.gov/cooperativeagreements.

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