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USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement

News and Events

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE) develops and maintains partnerships focused on solutions to challenges facing rural and underserved communities in the United States, and connects those communities to the education, tools, and resources available to them through USDA programs and initiatives. Whether you are a small or beginning farmer, Tribal member, veteran, student, community nonprofit, minority serving higher education institution, or just want to know where to start, we provide equitable access to USDA resources.

OPPE launches a new website 

The new Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement website provides a one-stop shop for the latest education, tools, and resources available through U.S. Department of Agriculture programs and initiatives. Visit our new site at www.usda.gov/partnerships

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) 

Please visit www.usda.gov/coronavirus for up-to-date information on USDA services and resources. This page include frequently asked questions, USDA actions to respond to COVID-19, and additional resources from CDC, FEMA, and other agencies. Learn more about the latest actions from USDA Food and Nutrition Service, Rural Development, and other agencies. 

Coming Soon: USDA Community Prosperity Training Summits 

The Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE) will soon announce dates for in-person and online Community Prosperity Summits around the country. These training summits and capacity-building workshops bring together a wide range of USDA stakeholders to foster a sustainable development process focusing on locally driven, bottom-up solutions to address challenges in rural and underserved communities. 

Rural Development Community Facilities and Distance Learning Resources 

Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. 

Select upcoming RD deadlines 

  • Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program - Application Deadline: April 10. 
  • Community Facilities Technical Assistance and Training Grant - Electronic Application Deadline: April 30, 2020 via grants.gov | Paper Application Deadline: May 5, 2020
  • Community Facilities Technical Assistance and Training Grant: Supplemental 2019 Disaster Relief Act Funding: Deadline: April 30, 2020 via grants.gov | Paper Application Deadline: May 5, 2020 

Minority Serving Institution Joint Meeting 

On March 11, 2020, USDA hosted the first ever joint session of the USDA-1890 Task Force, USDA-1994 Leadership Group, and USDA-HACU Leadership Group. This meeting brought together leadership from Minority Serving Institutions, partner organizations, and USDA to discuss collaborative opportunities and programs of mutual benefit to our shared stakeholders. This meeting was an important part of re-establishing these groups and their work guiding programming to these communities. 

USDA Calls for Peer Reviewers for Proposals to Help Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Grow their Businesses and Access USDA Programs 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture seeks qualified individuals to serve as peer reviewers to evaluate proposals that support socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers. Panelists will review fiscal year 2020 proposals for the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (also known as the 2501 Program). Read more

USDA Reminds Historically Underserved Producers of Advance Payment Option Underserved agricultural producers can get conservation practice payments in advance of practice implementation through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Learn more about the advance payment option at USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service website. 

AgDiscovery: Investing in the Future of American Agriculture 

AgDiscovery is a two- to four-week summer outreach program at college campuses that helps middle and high school students explore careers in plant and animal science, wildlife management, and agribusiness. Apply here

General Resources

Advisory Committees 

USDA seeks nominations for its committees throughout the year. The Department is interested in a wide range of professionals including scientists, representatives of interest groups, educators, and business leaders. USDA has a special interest in assuring that women, minority groups, and people with physically disabilities are adequately represented. Learn more

Federal Register

Find the latest USDA regulations, proposed rules, and notices of interest in the Federal Register, the daily journal of the federal government, published each business day by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Read the latest USDA notices

Farmers.gov

Farmers.gov is an interactive, one-stop website for farmers, ranchers, private foresters, and agricultural producers. Visitors can get online self-service applications, educational materials and business tools, and find local USDA Service Centers. Visit the site today. 

New Farmers.gov

This online resource offers guides to help future farmers create business plans, acquire land and capital, manage risk, and plan finances. A Discovery Tool provides customized advice and resources. Learn more about farming

Rural Development Innovation Center 

The Center works to transform rural communities through strategic partnerships, data analytics, regulations management and enterprise risk management. Get started

Veterans 

USDA offers loans, education and training, grants, and technical assistance programs to help veterans start or grow a business or career in agriculture. Learn more

Youth 

USDA’s Youth and Agriculture website connects young people, educators, and youth-serving organizations with Department-wide resources for the next generation of agricultural leaders. Discover more

USAJOBS 

USAJOBS connects job seekers with federal employment opportunities across the United States and around the world. Features include search tools for students, recent graduates, and veterans. 

If you have questions or suggestions for the newsletter, please email us at Partnerships@usda.gov. For more information about specific USDA agencies, sign up on their respective websites.

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