Promoting Participation of Small Socially Disadvantaged Producers in USDA Programs, and Sustainable Ownership and Management of Farms in Kentucky

Overview

The Kentucky State University (KSU) College of Agriculture Food Science and Sustainable Systems (CAFSSS) has received a Small Socially-Disadvantaged Producer Grant (SSDPG) from United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Business Cooperative Service with the goal of increasing participation of small and socially disadvantaged producers (SSDPs) in USDA programs and providing need-based technical assistance.

While Kentucky’s SSDPs are highly enthusiastic about farming, they face numerous challenges that make it difficult to sustain a farm and agricultural business. These include:

  • a lack of sufficient information about USDA and other farm business programs and services;
  • a lack of or insufficient capital, labor, training and technical assistance;
  • insufficient information about innovative farming techniques, pricing methods for agricultural products, market information, and
  • increasing costs of farm inputs and supplies.

Hurdles like these have made it extremely difficult for SSDPs to sustain their farming operations and participate in innovative agricultural practices. This one-year pilot project is designed to:

  1. Educate SSDPs about USDA programs for increasing their participation in the full range of USDA programs and services,
  2. Facilitate SSDPs in registering and owning farms and farmlands and provide counseling on the USDA class action lawsuits and claims processes and farm ownership;
  3. Provide training and outreach to SSDPs in developing cooperatives and networking and engaging in farm businesses; and
  4. Provide one-on-one need-based technical assistance, education, and training in a wide range of farm planning, production, processing, and farm and financial risk management strategies.