USDA offers information for minority farmers, ranchers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture?s Farm Service Agency is inviting minority farmers and ranchers in Marion County and across the nation to voluntarily join the USDA Minority Farm Register to receive information and opportunities from USDA agencies.

The new Minority Farm Register is an outreach tool designed to connect with underserved farmers and ranchers who are not currently enrolled in USDA loan, farm or conservation programs.

By joining the Register, minority producers may receive outreach materials, newsletters and program announcements from USDA agencies. They may also receive information and assistance from other USDA approved outreach partners. USDA will carefully control access on the use of the Register.

Individuals wishing to join the Register must sign and date a form that provides their name and address. Providing phone numbers e-mail address, race, ethnicity, gender and farm or ranch location will be voluntary, although the additional information increases the producer?s opportunities for receiving timely assistance.

A Register pamphlet with the registration form is available at the Marion County USDA Service Center at 301 Eisen?hower Drive in Marion or from approved USDA outreach partners. Completed forms may be mailed to: USDA Minority Farm Register, USDA Stop Code 0503, 1400 Independence Ave, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250.

FSA and USDA?s Office of Advocacy and Outreach are jointly administering the Register. Registration forms are available on the FSA web site at fsa.usda.gov under ?Forms.? An individual may remove his or her name from the Regis?ter by writing to the Minority Farm Register at the same address for sending completed forms.

Bill Harmon is executive director of the Marion County FSA office.