May 24, 2018

Van Hollen Secures Funding for Key Program for Farmers on the Eastern Shore

Today U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen announced that he helped secure $13 million in funding for the Outreach to Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program in the Senate Appropriations FY 2019 Agriculture Appropriations Bill. Since 1990, this program has served as the only Department of Agriculture (USDA) program dedicated to addressing the specific needs of veteran, African-American, American-Indian, Asian-American, and Latino family farmers and ranchers. Through this program, the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore has received more than $1 million in funding for outreach and assistance to farmers on the Eastern Shore since 2003.
“Whether you’re coming off the battlefield or trying to launch a new career, starting and operating a farm isn’t easy. This funding will help veterans and underserved populations get the training and support they need to succeed,” said Senator Van Hollen, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “I am also fighting to pass legislation to strengthen the program as part of the next Farm Bill.”
The funding is broken into $10 million in mandatory funds and an additional $3 million in discretionary funding. Senator Van Hollen has also introduced the Assist Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Act of 2018 to reauthorize, strengthen, and improve the USDA Program. The bill is supported by over 100 groups, from the Rural Coalition to the Sierra Club to the National Family Farm Coalition. Background on the proposal, along with a full list of supporting organizations, can be found here.