Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Program
Extension Program Area: Small Farm Program
Lincoln University Cooperative Extension has been committed to helping Missouri's limited-resource and minority farmers gain information and sustainability for many years. Since 1990, LUCE has served the needs of Missouri farmers through the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDAs) Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers (OASDFR) Program. The OASDFR Program targets a significant population of minority farmers located in the southeast portion of the state, known as the Missouri Bootheel. This area is characterized by limited employment opportunities, high poverty rates and a depressed rural economy. Significant minority populations have been identified in other parts of the state, such as Callaway County in Central Missouri.
The OASDFR grant (formerly the 2501 Program) was established to enable "socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers (SDFRs) to successfully acquire, own, operate and retain farms and ranches; and assure equitable participation in the full range of USDA programs" available to them (usda.gov). The USDA defines SDFRs as a "group whose members have been subject to racial or ethnic prejudice because of their identity as members of a group, without regard to their individual qualities" (usda.gov).
- Facilitate interactions between small, limited-resource and minority farmers and USDA agencies.
- Promote opportunities for these farmers to participate in various programs sponsored by eligible USDA and other participating agencies.
- Provide target audiences with technical assistance on both conventional and alternative agriculture enterprises and practices for the purpose of increasing profits.
- Inform the collaborating families of value-added enterprises and specialty market opportunities as well as resources and credit opportunities.
- Provide target audiences with training, especially in financial management and bookkeeping.
- Encourage and train families to use computers, risk management techniques and enterprises that enhance their income.
As a recipient of the OASDFR grant, Lincoln University serves as a useful and reliable resource for SDFRs throughout the Southeast and Southwest regions of Missouri. Program educators located in these two regions are ready to offer assistance in a variety of ways:
- Introduce SDFRs to USDA incentive programs
- Connect producers with USDA program representatives
- Offer educational workshops on a variety of farm topics related to specialty crops and small ruminants
- Provide research-based information that helps producers make informed decisions
- Conduct on-farm visits to assess challenges and help make decisions
- Encourage producer awareness of sustainable production techniques
- Connect producers with other extension specialists from Lincoln University and the University of Missouri
A number of USDA incentive programs benefit SDFRs through the following agencies:
- Sustainable Agriculture and Research and Education Program (SARE)
- Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
- Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD)
- Farm Service Agency (FSA)
- National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service (formerly ATTRA)
- Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA)
- Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC)
OASDFR The Sustainable Connection Newsletter