This USDA Conservation Outreach Initiative is focused on developing leadership for and providing support to small, overlooked, and/or marginalized farmers across the state of Massachusetts. The Pocasset Pokanoket Land Trust, in collaboration with Global Village and World Farmers, is dedicated to creating a just and equitable system for all farmers and ranchers. We intend to help raise your voice and support your work.
The Office of Outreach and Partnerships Division (OPD) within the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides leadership and funding to ensure that all programs and services are made accessible to all NRCS customers, fairly and equitably, with emphasis on reaching the underserved and socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers and landowners. The goal of this outreach is for NRCS in collaboration with partners to expand the delivery of conservation assistance to historically underserved farmers and ranchers, including socially disadvantaged, limited resource, beginning, tribal and veteran.
Historically underserved producers are defined as the following:
1. Beginning Farmer or Rancher
A beginning farmer or rancher is one who has not operated a farm or ranch, or who has operated a farm or ranch for not more than 10 consecutive years, and who will materially and substantially participate in the operation of the farm or ranch. In the case of a contract with an individual, individually or with the immediate family, material and substantial participation requires that the individual provide substantial day-to-day labor and management of the farm or ranch, consistent with the practices in the county or state where the farm is located.
2. Limited Resource Farmer or Rancher
A limited resource farmer or rancher is one who has direct or indirect gross farm sales not more than $189,200 in each of the previous two years, and who has a total household income less than 50 percent of county median household income in each of the previous two years. Click here for county information.
3. Socially Disadvantaged Farmer or Rancher
A socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher is a member of one or more of the following groups whose members have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities, 7 U.S.C. § 2279(e). Groups include, but are not limited to:
- African Americans-American Indians
- Alaskan Natives
- Pacific Islanders
4. Veteran Farmer or Rancher (VFR)
A veteran farmer or rancher is one who served in the United States Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, or Coast Guard, including the reserve components thereof, and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable and who also meets the definition of beginning farmer or rancher (BFR).
The VFR must:
- not have operated a farm or ranch; OR
- not have operated a farm or ranch for more than 10 consecutive years.
If you don’t think this program is a fit for you but you still need resources, please contact us and we’ll see what we can do.
To find out if you qualify and to get connected with NRCS resources, you’ll need to have records established with the USDA.
- If you don’t already have records, please View/Download Instructions to establish records with the USDA/FSA, and then return to complete the form.
- If you do have records established with the USDA, please fill out this form: