US co-op apex NCBA CLUSA has announced a new development project to increase the capacity of local agricultural production in rural America.
The project will provide technical assistance and training to “historically underserved” farmers and ranchers – including those who are starting out, those with limited resources, veterans and socially disadvantaged producers.
NCBA CLUSA is inviting suitable vendors to submit quotes of up to US $100,000 for technical assistance, including research, creating resources and delivering online conferences and training.
It is also seeking applications for small grants to support this work. Eligible organisations can apply for up to $20,000 to carry out a range of activities such as outreach, technical assistance, co-op development training and support, financial training, capacity building training and rural development to underserved farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.
The programme is being delivered in partnership with the US Department of Agriculture’s American Rescue Plan Technical Assistance Investment (ARPTAI) Program, set up to increase understanding and participation around the USDA’s services in underserved farmers, ranchers, forest land owners and operators.
NCBA CLUSA expects to offer these small grants every year for the next five years, in line with the activity of the ARPTAI funded ‘Strengthening Co-op Capacity for Historically Underserved Farmers’ project.
The apex says the programme will “cultivate a community-led co-operative development ecosystem to invest in agricultural communities, address their needs and transform America’s food systems”.