On August 24, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced $300 million in funding for projects that will increase land access for underserved farmers, including funding for innovative ways to connect available land to underserved producers who have challenges in accessing land, or restore lands into the hands of those who have been underserved.
This is a significant victory in our campaign to win funding for equitable land access at the federal level.
The National Young Farmers Coalition (Young Farmers) team is mobilizing a rapid response with partner organizations and community groups to make sure that this funding, the Increasing Land, Capital, and Market Access Program, reaches the farmers and ranchers who need it most.
Our rapid response plans include:
- Seeking and securing rapid response funding from our funder network to hire a short-term National Project Director to ensure eligible organizations know about this new opportunity and are supported to apply
- Bringing on a team of 4-10 grant writers who will work with the Director to support organizations applying for USDA funding, with focus on supporting BIPOC-led organizations
- Advocating for an extension of the October 28, 2022 deadline
- Developing plans to support successful applicants with grant reporting during the five-year cycle of project funding
While this new funding is far from everything we are asking for—and we know much more needs to change—this program is a major acknowledgment of the challenges growers are facing. We believe it will result in tangible access to resources for farmers and land stewards across the country. Federal policy change is incremental and hard won, and we believe that the announcement of this funding is proof that our theory of change is working.
As a first-of-its-kind program, we believe the Increasing Land, Capital, and Market Access Program can act as a pilot that can be improved upon and will hopefully inform future USDA program development. We are also hopeful that this new program indicates that the 2023 Farm Bill will finally be the farm bill that focuses on land access.
As the farm bill takes shape, we hope to see Congress build on this work and follow the call to action to invest in, and truly transform, our food system for the next generation of farmers, ranchers, and land stewards. USDA is looking for innovative models to address the barrier of land access that could be scaled to meet the immensity of the land access challenge. These investments from USDA are critical, and yet they are only possible because of remaining funding from the American Rescue Plan Act and the Inflation Reduction Act.
Fully resourcing a transformation of our food systems will require consistent, strong, and historic investment in equitable land access and transition. That is why we must take this momentum and keep pushing Congress to secure funding in the 2023 Farm Bill that is robust and long- lasting.
Is your organization interested in learning more about this program or applying for funds? Please email email@example.com. Are you a farmer who wants to be a part of increasing land access opportunities in your community? Find an organization to apply with you! For-profit farms can’t apply directly, but can be partners on grants submitted by an eligible applicant.
And if you are considering applying for the USDA Increasing Land, Capital, and Market Access Program, be sure your sam.gov registration and grants.gov login are up to date! We are hearing that SAM.gov registrations are taking longer to process, so be sure to start this process early before the October 28, 2022 submission deadline.
Interested in applying? Please fill out this survey, which will help us learn more about your eligibility and need for support.
More information on the Increasing Land, Capital, and Market Access Program
The new program will fund projects that, in USDA’s words, “will help move underserved producers from surviving to thriving as they address core barriers to attain land, capital, and market access.”
USDA describes underserved producers as including veterans, limited-resource producers, beginning farmers and ranchers, and/or farmers, ranchers and forest landowners living in high poverty areas.
Applicants to the program may include various government entities from local to Tribal, not-for-profit educational institutions, and non-profit organizations. Individuals are not eligible to apply.
Several frequently asked questions and answers to them can be found here.
Do you know of organizations who would benefit from these funds? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good news! Together with many voices, we have secured an extension to the USDA’s Increasing Land, Capital, and Market Access Program! The new application deadline is Nov 18, 2022.
We delivered a letter with 99 organizational sign-ons to Secretary Vilsack and his team, expressing the need in our ecosystem for more time to put together thoughtful, competitive applications. While structural barriers still exist for many organizations to apply, particularly BIPOC-led and lower-resource organizations, we believe that this extra time is essential for the equitable distribution of this funding. To view the sign-on letter we sent to USDA, click here.