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Opportunities for Historically Underserved Producers in New Jersey

These traditionally underserved groups are eligible for an increased payment rate and may receive advance payment of up to 50 percent to purchase materials and services needed to implement conservation practices included in their program contract.

NRCS will help eligible producers develop a conservation plan, which will become the basis of the program contract.


Farmers in Field


The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) includes provisions that address the unique circumstances and concerns of socially disadvantaged, beginning, limited resource, and veteran farmers and ranchers (“historically underserved producers”). The 2018 Farm Bill provides for voluntary participation, offers incentives, and focuses on equity in accessing U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs and services.


A Beginning Farmer means an individual or entity who:

  • Has not operated a farm, or who has operated a farm for not more than 10 consecutive years. This requirement applies to all members of an entity.
  • Will materially and substantially participate in the operation of the farm.
  • 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.

Check out our new Getting Started guide, which answers questions for Beginning Farmers about obtaining financial and technical assistance from NRCS.

Hawaiian NRCS GraphicSocially Disadvantaged

A group whose members have been subject to racial or ethnic prejudice because of their identity as members of a group, without regard to their individual qualities. These groups consist of the following:

  • American Indians or Alaskan Natives
  • Asians
  • Black or African Americans
  • Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders
  • Hispanics

Note: Gender alone is not a covered group for the purposes of NRCS conservation programs.

Limited Resource Farmer or Rancher is a participant:

  • With direct or indirect gross farm sales not more than the current indexed value in each of the previous two 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 two years.

Veteran Farmer:

  • The term “Veteran Farmer or Rancher” means a producer who served in the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, or Coast Guard, including the reserve components thereof; was released from the service under conditions other than dishonorable; and--

    • has not operated a farm or ranch, or has operated a farm or ranch for not more than 10 years; or

    • who first obtained status as a veteran during the most recent 10-year period.

  • For a legal entity or joint operation to be considered a Veteran Farmer or Rancher entity, all members must meet the above definition.  Veteran Farmers or Ranchers may also qualify as a Socially Disadvantaged Farmer or Rancher by meeting additional criteria.

Indian Tribe/Native American

  • Indian Tribe, band, nation, or other organized group or community, including any Alaska Native village or regional or village corporation that is Federally recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States.

More Information

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