VSU Small Farm Outreach Program Awarded Over $3.9 Million in Grants and Subawards
SFOP to help minority and veteran farmers and ranchers—and the environment—thrive.
The Small Farm Outreach Program (SFOP), a part of Virginia Cooperative Extension at Virginia State University, is the recipient of over $3.9 million in grants and sub-awards to educate and empower limited-resource, socially disadvantaged and military-veteran farmers and ranchers to own, operate and sustain small-scale farms and ranches independently with agricultural training programs that improve farm management skills and quality of life.
SFOP provides outreach and learning opportunities to small-scale farmers about production management, financial and risk management, marketing, USDA assistance programs and other topics designed to improve farm profitability and promote sustainability. Currently, SFOP provides educational programming in throughout Virginia, and parts of North Carolina and Maryland.
The 9 grants include the following:
- USDA-NIFA American Rescue Plan (ARP) Technical Assistance Investment Program to provide outreach, training and technical assistance to socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. (Over $1.5 million awarded)
- USDA-NRCS Climate Smart Sustainable Agriculture Solutions to Plastic Pollution to use alternative crops, such as hemp, to produce recyclable products. ($1.1 million awarded.)
- USDA-NRCS Climate Smart Grassland—Fescue Belt to assist farmers in implementing better grazing practices along the U.S. I-81 corridor. ($916,570 sub-award received with the University of Tennessee serving as lead.)
- USDA-NIFA AgrAbility Virginia to assist farmers with disabilities and promote their safety, wellness and accessibility on their farms. ($200,000 sub-award received with Virginia Tech serving as lead.)
- SARE- Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Expanding the Agroforestry Regional Knowledge (ARK) to train the trainers through the Exchange Network in Virginia. ($75,000 awarded.)
- Walmart.org Center for Racial Equity and the Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers (SDFR) Policy Research Center at Alcorn State University to reduce the decline of black farmers in the United States. The number of black farmers fell from nearly one million in 1920 to fewer than 50,000 according to U.S. Department of Agriculture and 2020 U.S. census data, respectively. ($74,993 awarded.)
- USDA-NIFA Southern Extension Risk Management to offer risk-management education. ($50,000 awarded.)
- USDA-NIFA Renewable Resource Extension Act to educate small landowners on alternative farm and forest land uses. ($13,500 awarded.)
- Agua Foundation award to provide funding, outreach, training and technical assistance to SDFR. ($60,000 awarded.)
“VSU College of Agriculture is proud of the transformational leadership SFOP provides in offering innovative solutions to pressing issues that face not only minority and veteran farmers but also the environment,” said Dr. Robert N. Corley III, interim dean/1890 Extension administrator of Virginia State University College of Agriculture and vice provost for Academic Affairs. “GREATER Happens Here, and with SFOP under the direction of William Crutchfield, taking on a national role in Urban Agriculture, I am confident that even greater is yet to come.”