WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) released the following statement today announcing the awarding of five new and continuing grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to assist socially disadvantaged farmers, ranchers, and landowners in Georgia. A total of 70 grants were awarded throughout the United States through the Outreach and Assistance to Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers (OASDFR) Competitive Grants Program, also known as the “2501 Program.”
“I am very grateful for these USDA grants and the positive impact they will have on our farmers and rural communities in Southwest Georgia,” said Congressman Bishop. “I commend USDA and Secretary Tom Vilsack for their commitment to helping socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers succeed. A strong and sustainable rural foundation is vital in strengthening our nation’s economy.”
“The funding for this project is so critical as it comes at a time when numerous historically underrepresented landowners in the region are keeping their properties idle for lack of financial support for legal and technical guidance,” said Govind Kannan, Dean of the College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology at recipient Fort Valley State University. “Through this project, FVSU Cooperative Extension Program under the leadership of Dr. Mark Latimore, will provide the needed support to enable landowners to be engaged and make the best use of their properties. We are very pleased that this project received funding.”
USDA granted continuing awards of $287,291 to the Federation of Southern Cooperatives to provide assistance to African-American farmers in Southwest Georgia; $300,000 to Fort Valley State University to help minority farmers change their educational and technological approach to USDA programs; and $300,000 to Southwest Georgia Project to advance the production and marketing development of socially disadvantaged women farmers.
USDA also granted two new awards to two Georgia universities: $243,544 to Albany State University to provide environmental assistance and education and $275,163 to Fort Valley State University to the Landowners Initiative for Forestry Education (LIFE) program.