The Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides outreach to all customers. Outreach activities also include innovative marketing initiatives to promote participation to the following underserved segments: Veterans, New and Beginning Farmers, Women Farmers and Ranchers, Minority Farmers and Ranchers (African-Americans, American Indians, Alaskan Natives, Asian/Pacific Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics) and Specialty Crop Producers.
New and beginning farmers come from all walks of life, including retired military veterans and heirs' property landowners. In 2016, FSA established four full time regional beginning farmers and rancher coordinators to support the department's beginning farmer efforts. In 2019, as part of USDA’s commitment to further support beginning farmers and ranchers, state beginning farmer coordinators were appointed in each state. Employees from Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Risk Management Agency and Rural Development lead beginning farmer outreach efforts in each state. The department also introduced a brochure targeted at veteran beginning farmers and ranchers and website designed to educate beginning farmers about opportunities offered through USDA programs.
The 2018 Farm Bill established provisions for heirs' property landowners. Through targeted outreach and education efforts, FSA is committed to ensuring landowners have access to USDA programs by starting with an FSA farm number. Fact Sheet | Handbook Guidance
Limited English Proficiency (LEP) persons are individuals who do not speak English as their primary language and who have a limited ability to read, speak, write, or understand English. LEP statutes and authorities prohibit exclusion from participation in, denial of benefits of, and discrimination under federally assisted and/or conducted programs on the ground of race, color, or national origin.
Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of national origin covers program access for LEP persons. These protections are pursuant to Executive Order 13166 entitled, “Improving Access to Services by Persons with Limited English Proficiency” and further affirmed in the USDA Departmental Regulation 4330-005, “Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting Persons with Limited English Proficiency in Programs and Activities Conducted by USDA”.
It is FSA's policy to provide equal opportunity in all programs, services, and activities to LEP persons. The Department of Justice’s LEP Guidance provides agencies with a framework to assess agencies’ LEP services. Below is the FSA Program Fact Sheet translated in five languages:
FSA has established a language translation line to provide meaningful access to its federally conducted programs and activities to persons who have LEP. LEP persons are those who do not speak English as their primary language and have a limited ability to read, speak, write, or understand English. FSA’s language line will assist LEP individuals in meaningfully accessing FSA programs and services. It will also assist FSA management and staff in understanding any particular LEP person’s needs, by overcoming language barriers via telephonic translation on the county, state, and national office level.
The language line is offered and available in all FSA county offices.
Please contact your local county office. To find the office closest to you, visit http://offices.usda.gov.
USDA's New Farmers website provides information to help new and beginning farmers. The site features advice and guidance on everything a new farm business owner needs to know, from writing a business plan, to obtaining a loan to grow their business, to filing taxes as a new small business owner. By answering a series of questions about their operation, farmers can use the site’s Discovery Tool to build a personalized set of recommendations of USDA programs and services that may meet their needs.
In August 2017, USDA announced a partnership with the Small Business Administration and SCORE to bring free business mentoring to farmers, ranchers and agricultural business owners to help move from the getting started phase to profitability and growth.
The Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides outreach to all producers, including minority farmers and ranchers. FSA defines minority as producers who are African-American, American Indian, Alaskan Native, Asian/Pacific American, Native American, Hispanic and Women farmers and ranchers.
Many farmers and ranchers face unique challenges growing viable businesses in farming and ranching.
FSA’s goals include:
Establishing partnerships with members of minority groups, community based organizations, community leaders, educational institutions, and other federal agencies.
Promoting increased representation from the minority community in FSA County Office Committee nominations and elections.
FSA targets a portion of its loan funds to minorities and women farmers and ranchers. These targeted funds are not a program type; rather it distinguishes a specific funding source, which is known as Socially Disadvantaged Applicants (SDA).
We encourage you to contact your local office or USDA Service Center to learn more about our programs and the information you will need to complete an application.
If America is to remain food secure and continue exporting food to the world, FSA must also support new types of farming who have not traditionally participated in FSA programs, such as niche operations, specialty crop, and organic producers. FSA's programs, such as Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program provide greater coverage for losses when natural disasters affect specialty crops such as vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, floriculture, ornamental nursery, aquaculture, turf grass, ginseng, honey, syrup, and energy crops. The FSA microloan is also a viable source for specialty crop producers to obtain credit to help start or expand their operation.
To help support expansion of organic products made in rural America, FSA has strengthened programs that support organic agriculture. One example is the Farm Storage Facility Loan to build or upgrade storage facilities for organic commodities, including cold storage, grain bins, bulk tanks and drying and handling equipment. Learn more about help for Organic Farming.
We encourage you to contact your local office or USDA Service Center to learn more about all FSA programs and the information you will need for a complete application.
All farmers and ranchers are encouraged to participate in the FSA County Committee Elections by running for a position and/or voting for individuals to represent you and your operation.
It is crucial that every eligible producer take part in this election because county committees are a direct link between the farm community and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Committee members are a critical component of the day-to-day operations of FSA. They help deliver FSA farm programs at the local level. Farmers who serve on committees help decide the kind of programs their counties will offer. They work to make FSA agricultural programs serve the needs of local producers. Learn more about the FSA County Committee Elections.
Have Questions? We can help. Please check out our AskFSA Online Knowledge Base.