U.S. Department of Agriculture

OPPE Newsletter May 2024

U.S. Department of Agriculture sent this email to their subscribers on May 14, 2024.


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SDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE MAY NEWSLETTER SAVE THE DATE! May 15: Farmers, ranchers, producers, foresters, 2501 grantees and others are invited to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Technical Committee in Little Rock, AR. May 15: Discover how USDA National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) staff arrived in their current roles at the Faces of Agriculture webinar. May 16: This webinar will explain the USDA Rural Development Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grant, due on June 3. May 20-21: Learn about USDA funding opportunities at a Grant Development and Grant Management Training Workshop hosted by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and Agricultural Research Service (ARS) at the University of Texas in Arlington. May 21: Learn about USDA information and resources available to veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses, including Farm Service Agency and Risk Management Agency resources for beginning farmers and ranchers at the One USDA Beginning Farming and Ranching Webinar. June 27-29: Discuss ideas and issues affecting the Latino community at the 2024 League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) National Convention in Las Vegas, NV. FROM DIRECTOR LISA RAMIREZ Photo of OPPE Director Lisa Ramirez This month, please join us in observing Asian American Pacific Islander Month, a time to recognize and celebrate the vibrant culture, rich history and significant contributions of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) to our nation’s history, culture and economy. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) supports the key priorities outlined in the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Strategy. We conduct research on various aspects of agriculture and rural development to identify challenges and opportunities to inform policy and program development specific to AANHPI farmers and communities. USDA works to strengthen these communities by providing loans, grants and technical assistance to enable Asian American farmers, ranchers and rural businesses to start or expand their operations. For example, the 2501 Program, administered by USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE), has provided funding to organizations that serve AANHPI and other underserved farmers and ranchers for 30 years. These grants have helped support traditional farming and culture in Hawaii, provide technical assistance to Thai, Lao, Ilocano, Chinese, and Vietnamese farmers in their native languages, and spawn new opportunities for aquaculture in Micronesia and Hawaii, among other recent successes. USDA also provides direct outreach and training to ensure that Asian American farmers have the latest information on agricultural practices, market opportunities and available resources to enhance their agricultural knowledge and skills. To develop a diversified workforce, USDA partners with the Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholars organization and funds an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions Scholarship program. Plus, AANHPI students have an opportunity to explore range of career options at USDA and other federal agencies through paid internships in partnership with the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL) Public Service internship program. Please join me in using the month of May as a catalyst for building stronger connections, embracing diversity and promoting a culture of acceptance, understanding and collaboration. Together, we can build a more inclusive and equitable society where everyone has equal opportunities to succeed. 2501 PROGRAM Hoop tent covering garden USDA Announces $22.3 Million to Support Underserved and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers through the 2501 Program The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced approximately $22.3 million available to community-based and nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education and tribal entities that help historically underserved and veteran farmers and ranchers own and operate successful farms. Funding is made through USDA’s Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program, also known as the 2501 Program. This program is administered by the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE). Applications must be submitted through Grants.gov and received by July 5, 2024. Asian man standing in water measures large conch 2501 Program Funding Helps Improve Quality of Life in Hawaii and Micronesia “Water farming” is the focus of the 2501 Program grant awarded to the Marine and Environmental Research Institute of Pohnpei to increase agricultural participation in USDA programs in Hawaii and Micronesia. The 2501 Program helps underserved and veteran agricultural producers successfully own and operate farms in various ways. Aquaculture, the fastest-growing facet of agriculture, is defined as growing any animal or plant in water. SPECIAL INITIATIVES: WHITE HOUSE INITIATIVE ON ASIAN AMERICANS AND PACIFIC ISLANDERS Asian men and women standing in open-air wooden building USDA SUPPORTS ASIAN AMERICANS, NATIVE HAWAIIANS AND PACIFIC ISLANDERS WITH SITE VISIT Guam is often called “where America’s day begins” as the sun rises 14 hours earlier than the nation’s capital. USDA Program Coordinator Lihan Wei recently traveled to Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) to visit these underserved communities. Wei works directly with the White House Initiative and seeks to highlight the unmet needs in the Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders community and the dynamic community assets that can be leveraged to meet many of those needs. YOUTH DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM Asian American woman representing USDA talks with other Asian American women National 4-H Conference Career Fair Last month 4-H members from around the country gathered in Washington, D.C. where they participated in round table discussions and met with staff from federal agencies, including USDA. Shown here, OPPE’s Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Coordinator Lihan Wei (left) shares information about USDA programs and career paths with a 4-H group from the Mariana Islands. OPPE staff members does crafts with children Earth Day with USDA OPPE celebrated Earth Day with fellow USDA agencies and partners at USDA headquarters in Washington, D.C. This year’s theme was Sustainably Cultivating the Future, and OPPE Youth Coordinator Lindsey Abentroth (left) shared information about different commodities grown in the United States with attendees of all ages, allowing them to identify, touch and learn how agriculture producers grow these crops by caring for the land and soil to produce the best food, fiber and fuel for people around the world. 1890 LAND GRANT INSTITUTIONS NATIONAL PROGRAM Young black woman wearing graduation cap and gown USDA 1890 National Scholar Program Internship Helped Refine Goals Camille Pierre wasn’t sure which agricultural niche she wanted to pursue until she became a USDA 1890 National Scholar. After working two summer internships with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) while attending college, she knew she wanted to become a district conservationist. Today she lives that dream through her contracting and conservation planning work for NRCS in Mount Pleasant, Texas. She credits her experience as an 1890 Scholar with helping accelerate her career. “I was able to advance more quickly at a young age and build my career faster than I would have ever been able to without this opportunity,” she said. HISPANIC-SERVING INSTITUTIONS NATIONAL PROGRAM OPPE and college staff pose for group photo OPPE STAFF VISIT LAGUARDIA COMMUNITY COLLEGE Last month OPPE visited LaGuardia Community College in New York City, where they met with College President Kenneth Adams, faculty members and students. After sharing more about their work in shaping the next generation of agricultural professionals, they explored future opportunities for collaboration. LaGuardia Community College is the recipient a USDA NextGen grant and has collaborated on other USDA-funded projects to Enhance Nutrition and Culinary Arts Curriculum and Training. LaGuardia Community College is also the host institution for USDA Liaison Herminia Gomez, who works with Hispanic-Serving Institutions throughout the Northeast. Syndia Nazario Cardona In Her Own Words: E. Kika De La Garza Fellow Finds Purpose in Motivating the Next Generation Acting Chancelor Syndia Nazario-Cardona from Ana G. Mendez University in Florida describes how her experience as an E. Kika De La Garza Fellow is helping her support the next generation and make a difference in the educational realm. “My goal is to empower students with valuable information to help them succeed academically and professionally,” she said. “Thanks to my experience as an E. Kika de la Garza Fellow, I have more information on opportunities for students and professionals in various fields that go beyond what most think is available through USDA.” EMPLOYEE HIGHLIGHT Head shot of Lihan Wei Meet Lihan Wei Lihan Wei joined OPPE in 2023 as the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) and Women in Agriculture program coordinator. She previously served as an analyst with USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Prior to coming to the USDA, she worked at the International Cotton Advisory Committee and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Johns Hopkins University and a master’s degree in international relations from the American Graduate School of Paris. As the USDA’s first AANHPI program coordinator, she works to increase the engagement and participation of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities in USDA programs and initiatives, including the White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this May. USDA’s AANHPI Program works to ensure meaningful access to USDA resources and services through outreach, data collection and the use of disaggregated data and language access, to identify and eliminate institutional barriers, and to build leadership opportunities in agriculture. MORE USDA NEWS graphic image of tree and hands shaking $1.5 Billion Available for Partner-Driven Conservation Solutions USDA announced the availability of a historic $1.5 billion in fiscal year 2024 for partner-driven conservation and climate solutions through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).  Proposals will be accepted through July 2, 2024 that will help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners adopt and expand conservation strategies to enhance natural resources while tackling the climate crisis. Photo of woman plus QR code showing where to find more info Grants Development and Grants Management Workshop for HSIs The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and Agricultural Research Service (ARS) will host a Grant Development and Grant Management Training Workshop from May 20-21 at the University of Texas in Arlington. Presentations include accessing funding information, funding opportunities, understanding award terms and conditions, and partnership opportunities with ARS. DID YOU KNOW... Hawaiian man (back to camera) sorts coffee beans laid out on a mat USDA Supports Hawaiian Coffee Growers USDA has had an interest in Hawaiian coffee and coffee growers for a long time – for good reason.  Coffee is one of the state’s most lucrative crops and uses a significant portion of agricultural land. As of January 2024, USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service reported that the state devoted 7,300 acres to usable crops with a value of over $42 million dollars. However, those facts paint only a partial picture. Coffee has been harvested on the island since the 1820s. Since its introduction to the islands, it has depended upon a diverse labor force, including Japanese, Chinese, Filipino and Korean immigrant labor. These early laborers encountered discriminatory policies that disadvantaged them for generations. The White House Initiative on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI) and USDA are working to correct this legacy of inequality by providing greater awareness of and access to federal programs. Earlier this year, OPPE hosted a webinar describing federal resources available to Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander and Native American-Serving Institutions. In August 2023, WHIAANHPI released a webinar series titled “Demystifying Federal Grants” aimed at sharing insights and tips to help community-based organizations access federal grants and resources. To learn more about how these opportunities impact Hawaiian coffee growers, grab a cup and check out this story on mother-daughter Lori and Joan Obra and their coffee business. For more information, please contact [email protected] or visit www.usda.gov/partnerships.  USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender. ***PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS EMAIL*** Sign up today to to additional topics or to . - This email was sent to [email protected] using GovDelivery Communications Cloud on behalf of: USDA Office of the Chief Information Officer · 1400 Independence Ave., SW · Washington, D.C. 20250 GovDelivery logo
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