Alcorn agricultural policy center earns grant to further assist minority farmers and ranchers

With its new grant, Alcorn State University can provide even more assistance to minority farmers and ranchers.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded the University’s Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center a $1.5 million grant for the 2020 Fiscal Year.

The purpose of the grant is for the outreach and assistance for black farmers for a one-year term. Program funds will be used to conduct policy research to make recommendations to USDA programs and services that impact minority farmers and ranchers and to increase their participation.

The SDFR Policy Center was authorized in the 2014 Farm Bill (Agricultural Act of 2014) and was created as a vehicle for minority farmers to have a voice in the development of agricultural policies that impact their livelihoods.

Eloris Speight, director of Alcorn’s SDFR Policy Research Center, is thrilled about receiving more funds to help minority farmers. She credits the Congressional Black Caucus for their role in helping minority farmers secure their futures.

“We are excited to receive the grant for this year," said Speight. "We are grateful for the efforts of Congressman Bennie Thompson and other Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) members in securing the increased amount of funds to conduct the research necessary to benefit SDFR and other rural landowners."

The grant allows the Policy Center to gain insight about SDFR and to develop practical strategies to promote farm sustainability and economic profitability. Some of the Policy Center’s other objectives include conducting studies to improve the success of SDFR, collaborate across the 1890 and other land grant universities to do research, and analyze the results of studies to make policy recommendations for future Farm Bills to the USDA.

For more information about Alcorn’s Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy Research Center, visit their webpage on the University website.