United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Dec 11, 2019

§ 2279.
Farming opportunities training and outreach
(a)
Definitions
In this section:
(1)
Agricultural programs
The term “agricultural programs” are those established or authorized by—
(A)
the Agricultural Act of 1949 [7 U.S.C. 1421 et seq.];
(B)
the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act [7 U.S.C. 1921 et seq.];
(C)
the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938 [7 U.S.C. 1281 et seq.];
(D)
the Soil Conservation Act;
(E)
the Domestic Allotment Assistance Act;
(F)
the Food Security Act of 1985; and
(G)
other such Acts as the Secretary deems appropriate.
(2)
Beginning farmer or rancher
The term “beginning farmer or rancher” means a person that—
(A)
(i)
has not operated a farm or ranch; or
(ii)
has operated a farm or ranch for not more than 10 years; and
(B)
meets such other criteria as the Secretary may establish.
(3)
Department

The term “Department” means the Department of Agriculture.

(4)
Secretary

The term “Secretary” means the Secretary of Agriculture.

(5)
Socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher

The term “socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher” means a farmer or rancher who is a member of a socially disadvantaged group.

(6)
Socially disadvantaged group

The term “socially disadvantaged group” means 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.

(7)
Veteran farmer or rancher
The term “veteran farmer or rancher” means a farmer or rancher who has served in the Armed Forces (as defined in section 101(10) of title 38) and who—
(A)
has not operated a farm or ranch;
(B)
has operated a farm or ranch for not more than 10 years; or
(C)
is a veteran (as defined in section 101 of that title) who has first obtained status as a veteran (as so defined) during the most recent 10-year period.
(b)
Farming opportunities training and outreach
The Secretary shall carry out this section to encourage and assist socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, veteran farmers and ranchers, and beginning farmers and ranchers in the ownership and operation of farms and ranches through—
(1)
education and training; and
(2)
equitable participation in all agricultural programs of the Department.
(c)
Outreach and assistance for socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers
(1)
Eligible entity
In this subsection, the term “eligible entity” means any of the following:
(A)
Any community-based organization, network, or coalition of community-based organizations that—
(i)
has demonstrated experience in providing agricultural education or other agriculturally related services to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers and veteran farmers or ranchers;
(ii)
has provided to the Secretary documentary evidence of work with, and on behalf of, socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers and veteran farmers or ranchers during the 3-year period preceding the submission of an application for assistance under this subsection; and
(iii)
does not engage in activities prohibited under section 501(c)(3) of title 26.
(B)
An 1890 institution or 1994 institution (as defined in section 7601 of this title), including West Virginia State College.
(C)
An Indian tribal community college or an Alaska Native cooperative college.
(D)
An Hispanic-serving institution (as defined in section 3103 of this title).
(E)
Any other institution of higher education (as defined in section 1001 of title 20) that has demonstrated experience in providing agriculture education or other agriculturally related services to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers in a region.
(F)
An Indian tribe (as defined in section 5304 of title 25) or a national tribal organization that has demonstrated experience in providing agriculture education or other agriculturally related services to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers in a region.
(G)
An organization or institution that received funding under subsection (a) before January 1, 1996, but only with respect to projects that the Secretary considers are similar to projects previously carried out by the organization or institution under such subsection.
(2)
Program
Using funds made available under subsection (l), the Secretary of Agriculture shall, for the period of fiscal years 2019 through 2023, carry out an outreach and technical assistance program to encourage and assist socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers and veteran farmers or ranchers—
(A)
in owning and operating farms and ranches; and
(B)
in participating equitably in the full range of agricultural, forestry, and related programs offered by the Department.
(3)
Requirements
The outreach and technical assistance program under paragraph (2) shall be used exclusively—
(A)
to enhance coordination of the outreach, technical assistance, and education efforts authorized under agriculture programs; and
(B)
to assist the Secretary in—
(i)
reaching current and prospective socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers and veteran farmers or ranchers in a linguistically appropriate manner; and
(ii)
improving the participation of those farmers and ranchers in Department programs, as reported under section 2279–1 of this title.
(4)
Grants and contracts
(A)
Outreach and technical assistance

The Secretary may make grants to, and enter into contracts and other agreements with, an eligible entity that has demonstrated an ability to carry out the requirements described in paragraph (3) to provide outreach and technical assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers and veteran farmers and ranchers under this subsection.

(B)
Relationship to other law

The authority to carry out this section shall be in addition to any other authority provided in this or any other Act.

(C)
Other projects

Notwithstanding paragraph (2), the Secretary may make grants to, and enter into contracts and other agreements with, an organization or institution that received funding under this section before January 1, 1996, to carry out a project that is similar to a project for which the organization or institution received such funding.

(D)
Report
The Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate, and make publicly available, an annual report that includes a list of the following:
(i)
The recipients of funds made available under the program.
(ii)
The activities undertaken and services provided.
(iii)
The number of current and prospective socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers served and outcomes of such service.
(iv)
The problems and barriers identified by entities in trying to increase participation by current and prospective socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers.
(v)
The number of farms or ranches started, maintained, or improved as a result of funds made available under the program.
(vi)
Actions taken by the Secretary in partnership with eligible entities to enhance participation in agricultural programs by veteran farmers or ranchers and socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers.
(vii)
The effectiveness of the actions described in clause (vi).
(E)
Maximum term and amount of grant, contract, or agreement
A grant, contract, or agreement entered into under subparagraph (A) shall be—
(i)
for a term of not longer than 3 years; and
(ii)
in an amount that is not more than $250,000 for each year of the grant, contract, or agreement.
(F)
Priority

In making grants and entering into contracts and other agreements under subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall give priority to nongovernmental and community-based organizations with an expertise in working with socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers or veteran farmers and ranchers.

(G)
Regional balance

To the maximum extent practicable, the Secretary shall ensure the geographical diversity of eligible entities to which grants are made and contracts and other agreements are entered into under subparagraph (A).

(H)
Prohibition

A grant, contract, or other agreement under subparagraph (A) may not be used for the planning, repair, rehabilitation, acquisition, or construction of a building or facility.

(I)
Peer review
The Secretary shall establish a fair and efficient external peer review process that—
(i)
the Secretary shall use in making grants and entering into contracts and other agreements under subparagraph (A); and
(ii)
shall include a broad representation of peers of the eligible entity.
(J)
Input from eligible entities

(5)
Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center

The Secretary shall award a grant to a college or university eligible to receive funds under the Act of August 30, 1890 (7 U.S.C. 321 et seq.), including Tuskegee University, to establish a policy research center to be known as the “Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center” for the purpose of developing policy recommendations for the protection and promotion of the interests of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.

(d)
Beginning farmer and rancher development grant program
(1)
In general

Using funds made available under subsection (l), the Secretary, acting through the Director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, shall, for the period of fiscal years 2019 through 2023, make competitive grants or enter into cooperative agreements to support new and established local and regional training, education, outreach, and technical assistance initiatives to increase opportunities for beginning farmers and ranchers.

(2)
Included programs and services
Initiatives described in paragraph (1) may include programs or services, as appropriate, relating to—
(A)
basic livestock, forest management, and crop farming practices;
(B)
innovative farm, ranch, and private, nonindustrial forest land transfer and succession strategies;
(C)
entrepreneurship and business training;
(D)
technical assistance to help beginning farmers or ranchers acquire land from retiring farmers and ranchers;
(E)
financial and risk management training, including the acquisition and management of agricultural credit;
(F)
natural resource management and planning;
(G)
diversification and marketing strategies;
(H)
curriculum development;
(I)
mentoring, apprenticeships, and internships;
(J)
resources and referral;
(K)
farm financial benchmarking;
(L)
agricultural rehabilitation and vocational training for veteran farmers and ranchers;
(M)
farm safety and awareness;
(N)
food safety and recordkeeping; and
(O)
other similar subject areas of use to beginning farmers and ranchers.
(3)
Eligibility
(A)
In general

To be eligible to receive a grant or enter into a cooperative agreement under this subsection, the recipient of the grant or participant in the cooperative agreement shall be a collaborative State, Tribal, local, or regionally-based network or partnership of public or private entities.

(B)
Inclusions
A recipient of a grant or a participant that enters into a cooperative agreement described in subparagraph (A) may include—
(i)
a State cooperative extension service;
(ii)
a Federal, State, municipal, or Tribal agency;
(iii)
a community-based or nongovernmental organization;
(iv)
a college or university (including an institution awarding an associate’s degree) or foundation maintained by a college or university; or
(v)
any other appropriate partner, as determined by the Secretary.
(4)
Terms of grants or cooperative agreement
A grant or cooperative agreement under this subsection shall—
(A)
be for a term of not longer than 3 years; and
(B)
provide not more than $250,000 for each year.
(5)
Matching requirement
(A)
In general

Except as provided in subparagraph (B), to be eligible to receive a grant or enter into a cooperative agreement under this subsection, a recipient or participant shall provide a match in the form of cash or in-kind contributions in an amount equal to 25 percent of the funds provided by the grant or cooperative agreement.

(B)
Exception

The Secretary may waive or reduce the matching requirement in subparagraph (A) if the Secretary determines such a waiver or modification is necessary to effectively reach an underserved area or population.

(6)
Evaluation criteria
In making grants or entering into cooperative agreements under this subsection, the Secretary shall evaluate, with respect to applications for the grants or cooperative agreements—
(A)
relevancy;
(B)
technical merit;
(C)
achievability;
(D)
the expertise and track record of 1 or more applicants;
(E)
the consultation of beginning farmers and ranchers in design, implementation, and decisionmaking relating to an initiative described in paragraph (1);
(F)
the adequacy of plans for—
(i)
a participatory evaluation process;
(ii)
outcome-based reporting; and
(iii)
the communication of findings and results beyond the immediate target audience; and
(G)
other appropriate factors, as determined by the Secretary.
(7)
Regional balance

To the maximum extent practicable, the Secretary shall ensure the geographical diversity of recipients of grants or participants in cooperative agreements under this subsection.

(8)
Priority

In making grants or entering into cooperative agreements under this subsection, the Secretary shall give priority to partnerships and collaborations that are led by or include nongovernmental, community-based organizations and school-based educational organizations with expertise in new agricultural producer training and outreach.

(9)
Prohibition

A grant made or cooperative agreement entered into under this subsection may not be used for the planning, repair, rehabilitation, acquisition, or construction of a building or facility.

(10)
Coordination permitted

A recipient of a grant or participant in a cooperative agreement under this subsection may coordinate with a recipient of a grant or cooperative agreement under section 5933 of this title in addressing the needs of veteran farmers and ranchers with disabilities.

(11)
Consecutive awards

A grant or cooperative agreement under this subsection may be made to a recipient or participant for consecutive years.

(12)
Peer review
(A)
In general

The Secretary shall establish a fair and efficient external peer review process, which the Secretary shall use in making grants or entering into cooperative agreements under this subsection.

(B)
Requirement

The peer review process under subparagraph (A) shall include a review panel composed of a broad representation of peers of the applicant for the grant or cooperative agreement that are not applying for a grant or cooperative agreement under this subsection.

(13)
Participation by other farmers and ranchers
Nothing in this subsection prohibits the Secretary from allowing a farmer or rancher who is not a beginning farmer or rancher (including an owner or operator that has ended, or expects to end within 5 years, active labor in a farming or ranching operation as a producer, retiring farmers, and non-farming landowners) from participating in a program or service under this subsection, to the extent that the Secretary determines that such participation—
(A)
is appropriate; and
(B)
will not detract from the primary purpose of increasing opportunities for beginning farmers and ranchers.
(14)
Education teams
(A)
In general

The Secretary shall establish beginning farmer and rancher education teams to develop curricula, conduct educational programs and workshops for beginning farmers and ranchers in diverse geographical areas of the United States, or provide training and technical assistance initiatives for beginning farmers or ranchers or for trainers and service providers that work with beginning farmers or ranchers.

(B)
Curriculum

In promoting the development of curricula, educational programs and workshops, or training and technical assistance initiatives under subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall, to the maximum extent practicable, include content tailored to specific audiences of beginning farmers and ranchers, based on crop diversity or regional diversity.

(C)
Composition
In establishing an education team under subparagraph (A) for a specific program or workshop, the Secretary shall, to the maximum extent practicable—
(i)
obtain the short-term services of specialists with knowledge and expertise in programs serving beginning farmers and ranchers; and
(ii)
use officers and employees of the Department with direct experience in programs of the Department that may be taught as part of the curriculum for the program or workshop.
(D)
Cooperation
(i)
In general
In carrying out this subsection, the Secretary shall cooperate, to the maximum extent practicable, with—
(I)
State cooperative extension services;
(II)
Federal, State, and Tribal agencies;
(III)
community-based and nongovernmental organizations;
(IV)
colleges and universities (including an institution awarding an associate’s degree) or foundations maintained by a college or university; and
(V)
other appropriate partners, as determined by the Secretary.
(ii)
Cooperative agreements

The Secretary may enter into a cooperative agreement to reflect the terms of any cooperation under subparagraph (A).

(15)
Curriculum and training clearinghouse

The Secretary shall establish an online clearinghouse that makes available to beginning farmers and ranchers education curricula and training materials and programs, which may include online courses for direct use by beginning farmers and ranchers.

(e)
Application requirements

In making grants and entering into contracts and other agreements, as applicable, under subsections (c) and (d), the Secretary shall make available a simplified application process for an application for a grant that requests less than $50,000.

(f)
Stakeholder input
In carrying out this section, the Secretary shall seek stakeholder input from—
(1)
beginning farmers and ranchers;
(2)
socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers;
(3)
veteran farmers and ranchers;
(4)
national, State, Tribal, and local organizations and other persons with expertise in operating programs for—
(A)
beginning farmers and ranchers;
(B)
socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers; or
(C)
veteran farmers and ranchers;
(5)
the Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers established under section 5(b) of the Agricultural Credit Improvement Act of 1992 (7 U.S.C. 1929 note; Public Law 102–554);
(6)
the Advisory Committee on Minority Farmers established under section 14008 of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 2279 note; Public Law 110–246); and
(7)
the Tribal Advisory Committee established under subsection (b) of section 6921 of this title.
(g)
Designation of Federal personnel
(1)
In general

The Secretary shall designate from existing Federal personnel resources in the county or region a qualified person who shall, in cooperation with the State cooperative extension services, implement the policies and programs established or modified in accordance with this section.

(2)
Additional personnel

In counties or regions in which the number of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers or veteran farmers and ranchers exceeds 25 percent of the total number of farmers and ranchers in the county or region, the Secretary shall designate additional personnel to implement the policies and programs established or modified in accordance with this section.

(h)
Affirmative action, appeals, and contracting review
(1)
Purpose

It is the purpose of this subsection to direct the Secretary to analyze within the Department the design and implementation of affirmative action programs and policies, the appeals process for complaints of discrimination, and contracting and purchasing practices employed by the Department.

(2)
Scope
The study shall include—
(A)
an assessment of the successes and failures of these affirmative action programs and policies;
(B)
a review of the reasons for the successes and failures described in subparagraph (A);
(C)
a review of procurement, contracting, and purchasing policies of the Department, the level of participation of socially disadvantaged businesses in such activities, and the impact of those policies on the participation of members of socially disadvantaged groups in such contracting with the Department;
(D)
a review of the reasons for participation or lack of participation of businesses owned by members of socially disadvantaged groups in the activities described in subparagraph (C); and
(E)
a review of the appeals process for all complaints or allegations regarding acts, practices, or patterns of discrimination filed with the Department by individuals or any other entities that shall include—
(i)
(ii)
the manner in which the complaints were investigated and resolved by the Department; and
(iii)
the longest, shortest, and average periods of time taken to investigate and resolve the complaints or allegations regarding acts, practices, or patterns of discrimination.
(3)
Report

Not later than November 28, 1991, and not later than March 1, 2020, the Secretary shall prepare and submit to the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate a report containing the information described in paragraph (2).

(i)
Reservations
(1)
Consolidated suboffice

The Secretary shall require the Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service, and such other offices and functions the Secretary may choose to include where there has been a need demonstrated, in each county that has a reservation within its borders, to establish a consolidated suboffice at the tribal headquarters of said reservation and to staff said suboffice as needed, using existing staff, but no less than one day a week or under such other arrangement agreed to by the tribe and the Department offices.

(2)
Cooperative agreements

For those reservations that are located in more than one county, the Secretary, the relevant county offices and the tribe shall enter into a cooperative agreement to provide the services required by paragraph (1) that avoids duplication of effort.

(j)
Accurate documentation

The Secretary shall ensure, to the maximum extent practicable, that the Census of Agriculture and studies carried out by the Economic Research Service accurately document the number, location, and economic contributions of socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers in agricultural production.

(k)
Report to Congress
(1)
In general
Not later than September 30, 1992, and every two years thereafter, the Secretary shall report to the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate, regarding—
(A)
the efforts of the Secretary to enhance participation by veteran farmers or ranchers and members of socially disadvantaged groups in agricultural programs;
(B)
the specific participation goals established for each agricultural program;
(C)
the results achieved for each agricultural program; and
(D)
the progress of the Department towards meeting each of the purposes described in paragraph (2)(C).
(2)
Contents
In addition to the information specified in paragraph (1), the report required by paragraph (1) shall include—
(A)
a comparison of the participation goals and the actual participation rates of veteran farmers or ranchers and members of socially disadvantaged groups in each agricultural program;
(B)
an analysis and explanation of the reasons for the success or failure of the Secretary to achieve the goals, and the overall purposes of this section;
(C)
a listing, on a State-by-State and county-by-county basis, of—
(i)
the amount of funds loaned to members of socially disadvantaged groups; and
(ii)
the amount of funds used to guarantee loans to members of socially disadvantaged groups compared to the total amount of such guarantees;
(D)
a breakdown in allocation of crop base in each program crop compared to the target participation rates established pursuant to sections 355(a)(1) and 355(c) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act [7 U.S.C. 2003(a)(1), 2003(c)], on a State-by-State and county-by-county basis; and
(E)
a review and analysis of participation by members of socially disadvantaged groups, compared to participation by all others, in agricultural programs, on a State-by-State and county-by-county basis, including a survey representative of all farmers and ranchers, including socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, to identify reasons for participation and nonparticipation in agricultural programs.
(l)
Funding
(1)
Mandatory funding
Of the funds of the Commodity Credit Corporation, the Secretary shall use to carry out this section—
(A)
$30,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2019 and 2020;
(B)
$35,000,000 for fiscal year 2021;
(C)
$40,000,000 for fiscal year 2022; and
(D)
$50,000,000 for fiscal year 2023 and each fiscal year thereafter.
(2)
Authorization of appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $50,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2019 through 2023.

(3)
Reservation of funds
Of the amounts made available to carry out this section—
(A)
50 percent shall be used to carry out subsection (c); and
(B)
50 percent shall be used to carry out subsection (d).
(4)
Allocation of funds
(A)
In general
Not less than 5 percent of the amounts made available to carry out subsection (d) for a fiscal year shall be used to support programs and services that address the needs of—
(i)
limited resource beginning farmers and ranchers, as defined by the Secretary;
(ii)
socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers that are beginning farmers and ranchers; and
(iii)
farmworkers desiring to become farmers or ranchers.
(B)
Veteran farmers and ranchers

Not less than 5 percent of the amounts made available to carry out subsection (d) for a fiscal year shall be used to support programs and services that address the needs of veteran farmers and ranchers.

(5)
Interagency funding

Any agency of the Department may participate in any grant, contract, or agreement entered into under this section by contributing funds, if the contributing agency determines that the objectives of the grant, contract, or agreement will further the authorized programs of the contributing agency.

(6)
Administrative expenses

Not more than 5 percent of the amounts made available to carry out this section for a fiscal year may be used for expenses relating to the administration of this section.

(7)
Limitation on indirect costs

A recipient of a grant or a party to a contract or other agreement under subsection (c) or (d) may not use more than 10 percent of the funds received for the indirect costs of carrying out a grant, contract, or other agreement.

(Pub. L. 101–624, title XXV, § 2501, Nov. 28, 1990, 104 Stat. 4062; Pub. L. 102–237, title X, § 1003, Dec. 13, 1991, 105 Stat. 1894; Pub. L. 107–171, title X, § 10707, May 13, 2002, 116 Stat. 520; Pub. L. 110–234, title XIV, §§ 14001, 14004, 14005, May 22, 2008, 122 Stat. 1442, 1443, 1445; Pub. L. 110–246, § 4(a), title XIV, §§ 14001, 14004, 14005, June 18, 2008, 122 Stat. 1664, 2204, 2205, 2207; Pub. L. 112–240, title VII, § 701(h), Jan. 2, 2013, 126 Stat. 2367; Pub. L. 113–79, title XII, §§ 12201, 12203, Feb. 7, 2014, 128 Stat. 983, 984; Pub. L. 115–334, title XII, §§ 12301(b), 12306(a), Dec. 20, 2018, 132 Stat. 4951, 4968.)
cite as: 7 USC 2279