For decades, the USDA-Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Program (also known as the Section 2501 Program) has served as the only farm bill program dedicated to addressing the specific needs of minority farmers and was recently expanded to also serve military veterans. The 2501 Program helps institutions and nonprofits provide critical resources, outreach, and technical assistance to serve these historically underserved producers.

The STAR School and its partners awarded the “Outreach and Assistance Program for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers in Navajo Nation” to extend the existing school function to an Education Center, providing on-going assistance to the socially disadvantaged (SDA), veteran, and beginning farmers and ranchers in the 110 Chapters of Navajo Nation.  The service areas cover several Strike Force counties and the former “Bennett Freeze” areas in Navajo Nation, where the development was frozen for 40 years. The majority of Navajo Nation is also considered as “Food Desert”. 

Program Needs In Arizona

• Arizona has the third largest American Indian population in U.S., with 22 federally recognized tribes and over 350,000 Native Americans.

• 47.3% of Arizona population is socially disadvantaged based on race (2013).

• Unemployment rate of Arizona reservations was 24.4% (2012).

• Over 500,000 Veterans live in Arizona.

• About 200,000 Veterans are under age of 55 and ~20% are unemployed.  

Project Goals & Objectives

 The Overarching Goal of the Program is to assist SDA, veteran, and beginning producers in owning and operating successful agribusinesses, while increasing their participation in USDA programs and services. 

  1. Assist SDA, veteran, and beginning producers in owning and operating successful agribusinesses and improve  their in USDA programs and services    
  2. Build relationships between current and perspective, veteran, and beginning producers and USDA local, state, regional, and national offices
  3. Introduce agriculture related information to SDA, veteran, and beginning producers through innovative outreach and technical assistance 
  4. Introduce agricultural education targeting SDA youth, veteran and beginning producers
  5. Develop local capacity to provide continued outreach, assistance, and training in the future

Service Areas

Free Services- To Eligible Farmers/Ranchers


  1. Outreach and Agricultural Education
      - Workshops, in-class presentations, hands-on training 
  2.  Technical Assistance
      - Sustainable Business Assistance 
      - Agricultural Project/Program Development
      - USDA Grant and Loan Application Assistance
  3.  Innovative Training and Technology Demonstration
      - Greenhouse Technology Demonstration
      - Demonstration of Renewable Water/Energy Technologies for                           Sustainable Agriculture