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Opportunities for Historically Underserved Clients

Opportunities for Historically Underserved Clients

The Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill) continues to address the unique circumstances and concerns of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, as well as beginning and limited resource farmers and ranchers. It provides for voluntary participation, offers incentives, and focuses on equity in accessing U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs and services.

Enhancements include streamlined delivery of technical and financial assistance; improved programs and services; and flexibility in decision making. Some programs offer higher practice payments to participants who belong to a group identified as historically underserved.

The term "historically underserved" refers to groups that have not participated in or that in the past have received limited benefits from USDA programs. These are:

 

Beginning Farmer or Rancher

A Beginning Farmer or Rancher means an individual or entity who:

  • Has not operated a farm or ranch, or who has operated a farm or ranch for not more than 10 consecutive years. This requirement applies to all members of an entity, AND
  • Will materially and substantially participate in the operation of the farm or ranch.
    • In the case of a contract with an individual, individually or with the immediate family, material and substantial participation requires that the individual provide substantial day-to-day labor and management of the farm or ranch, consistent with the practices in the county or State where the farm is located.
    • In the case of a contract with an entity, all members must materially and substantially participate in the operation of the farm or ranch. Material and substantial participation requires that each of the members provide some amount of the management, or labor and management necessary for day-to-day activities, such that if each of the members did not provide these inputs, operation of the farm or ranch would be seriously impaired.

 

 

Limited Resource Farmer or Rancher

A Limited Resource Farmer or Rancher or Forest Owner is an applicant:

  • With direct or indirect gross farm sales not more than the current indexed value in each of the previous 2 years, and
  • Who has a total household income at or below the national poverty level for a family of four, or less than 50 percent of county median household income in each of the previous 2 years.

An entity or joint operation can be a Limited Resource Farmer or Rancher if all individual members independently qualify

To help assess whether you fit into this description, visit the online USDA Limited Resource Farmer Tool.

 

 

Socially Disadvantaged Producers

According to Section 2501(e)(2) of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (7 USC 2279(e)(2)), a Socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher (SDA) is defined as a farmer or rancher who is a member of a "Socially Disadvantaged Group." Therefore a "Socially Disadvantaged Farmer or Rancher" is defined as:

Socially disadvantaged group - a group whose members have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities. The definition that applies to Titles I, V, and VI includes members of a group subject to gender prejudice, while the definition that applies to Titles II, IX, XII, and XV does not. Title XIV and the Education and Risk Management Assistance provision in Title XII do not make specific reference to the statutory definition of socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher.

Socially disadvantaged Farmer or Rancher - a farmer or rancher who has been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudices because of their identity as a member of a group without regard to their individual qualities. This term means a farmer or rancher who is a member of a socially disadvantaged group. Specifically, a group whose members have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities. Those groups include:

  • African Americans
  • American Indians
  • Alaskan natives
  • Hispanics
  • Asians
  • Pacific Islanders

 

 

More Information

For more information about these and other Farm Bill topics, please refer to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Web site at:
http://www.usda.gov/farmbill or the Natural Resources Conservation Service Web site at:  http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs.