Washington DC, Sep 26, 2013 -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced grants to support small, socially disadvantaged agriculture producers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today's announcement is one part of the Department's efforts to strengthen the rural economy.
"These grants will help socially-disadvantaged business owners get the tools they need to succeed and expand markets across the nation," said Vilsack. "This funding is an example of the Obama Administration's dedication to the economic stability of rural communities throughout the country."
Funding is provided through USDA's Small Socially Disadvantaged Producer Grant program, which offers technical assistance to help producers develop new markets and grow their operations. In Kentucky, Kentucky State University (KSU) was selected to receive $103,450 in grant funds. These funds will be used to help small socially-disadvantaged producers develop cooperatives, register and secure proper title to farmland, and fully utilize various USDA programs that assist small farmers. The funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant agreement. A complete list of grant recipients can be found on USDA’s website: www.usda.gov
“The work Kentucky State University will be doing through this grant will make a tremendous difference for small socially-disadvantaged producers in Kentucky,” said Thomas G. Fern, state director for UDSA Rural Development operations in Kentucky. “I am delighted to further our partnership with KSU on behalf of Kentucky producers.”
Secretary Vilsack noted that today's funding announcements are another reminder of the importance of USDA programs for rural America. A comprehensive new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would further expand the rural economy – and he said that's just one reason why Congress must get a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill done as soon as possible.
President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.