New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced that the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (the Department) is now accepting proposals for program administrators for the $1 million Beginning Farmers Grant Program and for the $4 million Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Farmers Grant Program. These programs will support New York farmers who are new to the field or who face disproportionate social or economic barriers to success. Funding for the programs was provided in the New York State budget and build on the State’s work to expand opportunities in agriculture to more New Yorkers.
Commissioner Ball said, “These new grant programs will help give a necessary boost to farmers who are just getting their feet wet, those who are struggling to get a foothold on starting or expanding their business, and those in historically marginalized groups to ensure that we build a strong next generation of farmers who are ready to take the reins. We encourage eligible entities to apply for this opportunity to administer these important funds, in coordination with the Department.”
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Farmers Grant Program (RFP 0288)
The Department is seeking an eligible entity to administer the $4 million Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Farmers Grant Program, which was funded in the 2022-2023 New York State Budget to assist farmers who face disproportionate social or economic barriers to success. The administrator will accept proposals for grants ranging from $5,000 to $250,000, which will be awarded on a competitive basis to eligible farmers. Socially disadvantaged individuals include those who have been subject to discrimination due to their race or ethnicity, including those who identify as Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Hispanic or Latino, and Asian or Pacific Islander. Economically disadvantaged farmers include individuals whose farming opportunities have been hindered due to diminished capital, credit opportunities, or access to land, among other things, as compared to other similarly situated individuals who are not socially disadvantaged and who will materially and substantially participate in operating a farm within a region of the state. This may include urban farmers.
Beginning Farmers Grant Program (RFP 0287)
Additionally, the Department is seeking an administrator for the $1 million Beginning Farmers Grant Program. Grants of $5,000 to $250,000 will be awarded on a competitive basis to farmers who have not operated a farm for more than ten years, and who will materially and substantially participate in operating a farm within a region of the state. This may include urban farmers.
Grants will be awarded to start up, improve or expand a farm operation; provide worker or apprenticeship training; purchase agricultural land, infrastructure, equipment, or livestock; and more.
Proposals for the program administrators must be received by the Department’s Division of Fiscal Management by 3:00 p.m. on February 28, 2023. For more information about how to submit a proposal, visit the Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Farmers Grant Program site and the Beginning Farmers Grant Program site.
In November, the Department hosted two virtual stakeholder feedback sessions to discuss the programs, which are available online at the links below:
Both the Beginning Farmers Grant Program and the Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Farmers Grant Program aim to expand opportunities to farmers who are less likely to enter or succeed in the field, whether due to lack of experience, inability to access resources, or social and economic discrimination. Opening doors to all farmers is a critical piece of New York’s agricultural landscape that will help ensure a strong, diverse, and well-supported agricultural future.
These programs build on the Department’s work to make farming more accessible for all New Yorkers, including funding in last year’s budget for Black Farmers United – New York State and Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences, or MANRRS. Further, the Strategic Interagency Task Force Lessening Obstacles to Agriculture Working Group (SILO), chaired by Commissioner Richard Ball, held its first meeting earlier this month to discuss how to improve the industry and remove barriers to agriculture for key groups.