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”.
• 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.
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.