USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE) Newsletter




USDA’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.


COVID-19 Response and Resources

 USDA Coronavirus Website

Visit for up-to-date information on U.S. Department of Agriculture (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.

USDA Announces Fourth Round of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program

USDA has authorized $500 million for a fourth round of purchases for the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program. USDA has issued solicitations for the fourth round to existing Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA) holders. Learn more about the distributors.


 Veterans Day Message From Secretary Perdue

This Veterans Day, Secretary Perdue thanked the service and sacrifices of the men and women of our armed forces, including the more than 11,600 veterans that are a part of USDA. View here.

USDA Announces OneUSDA Internship Program for Summer 2021

 As part of the federal Pathways Program, USDA offers paid federal internships at USDA agencies and offices around the country. USDA is hiring interns from high school to graduate level for a broad range of occupational fields, from veterinary science, to engineering, to finance, and marketing. The application deadline is Monday, November 16. Apply today.

USDA/1890 National Scholars Program

Build your professional future through the USDA/1890 National Scholars Program. This is a partnership between USDA and 19 historically black universities established under the Second Morrill Act of 1890. The program provides full tuition, fees, books, room and board, and a summer internship to students pursuing degrees in agriculture, food, natural resource sciences, or related academic disciplines. When the student has completed the academic and summer work requirements of the scholarship, USDA may convert the student to a permanent employee without further competition. Apply today.

USDA 1994 Tribal Scholars Program

Fast-track your career at USDA through the USDA 1994 Tribal Scholars Program. The program provides full tuition, fees, books, and a summer internship to students pursuing degrees in agriculture, food, natural resource sciences, or related academic disciplines. The program is for students at 1994 institutions, tribally controlled colleges and universities with land-grant status. When the student has completed the academic and summer work requirements of the scholarship, USDA may convert the student to a permanent employee without further competition. Learn more and apply today.

USDA Forest Service Grants Veterans and Gold Star Families Free Access to National Forests and Grasslands

 To show our gratitude for the selfless service of our country’s veterans, the USDA Forest Service announced it will offer U.S. military veterans and Gold Star families fee-free access to their national forests and grasslands. The free benefit will take effect on Veteran’s Day, Nov. 11, 2020, and will continue indefinitely, providing veterans and Gold Star Families with unfettered access to the public land and waters for which they fought. Learn more.

 OPPE Visits Minority-Serving Higher Education Institutions and Other Partners

 In October, Director of the Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement Mike Beatty travelled to Georgia, Arkansas, and Oklahoma to meet with faculty, staff, students, and USDA liaisons at historically black 1890 land-grant institutions and 1994 tribal land-grant colleges including Fort Valley State University, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Langston University, and the College of the Muscogee Nation. These are key partners in our mission to strengthen the pipeline for tomorrow’s agricultural workforce. Beatty also met with grant recipients through the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (also known as the 2501 Program). While on the road, OPPE also connected with Farmers to Families Food Box Program recipients and vendors and facilitated dialogue through roundtables with youth and veteran groups. OPPE looks forward to future opportunities to connect with our partners.

USDA Announces $16.2 Million to Support Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers

 USDA has issued $16.2 million in grants for training, outreach, and technical assistance for underserved and veteran farmers and ranchers. This funding is available through the USDA’s Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (also known as the 2501 Program), managed by the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE). Learn more.

Building Capacity to Serve Socially Disadvantaged Farmers And Ranchers

 OPPE is hosting workshops in November to help professionals who serve socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. Topics include farm financial literacy, heirs property, and more. Register today.

 New Community Prosperity Federal Resource Guide

 Communities seeking USDA and other federal resources to address complex issues they may face have a new tool. This new resource matrix describes USDA and other federal funding opportunities, categorized by stakeholder group and type of assistance.

IGNITE Business Expo: Celebrating Diversity

On November 17 and December 1-2, diversity-owned farmers and ranchers can take part in virtual presentations to showcase products, engage in roundtable discussions, and secure one-on-one meetings with supplier diversity representatives Learn more and register today.

 USDA Rural Development Community Connect Program

The Community Connect Program helps rural communities extend access where broadband service is least likely to be commercially available. The projects funded by these grants help rural residents tap into the enormous potential of the internet for jobs, education, healthcare, public safety, and community development. Apply today.

USDA Food and Nutrition Service Farm to School Grant Program Request for Applications

USDA Food and Nutrition Service will award up to $10 million through the FY 2021 Farm to School Grant Program. Apply today.

 USDA Team Nutrition Grants Help Develop Localized School Meal Recipes

USDA Food and Nutrition Service announced $4.1 million in FY 2021 Team Nutrition Training Grants to state agencies that administer the National School Lunch Program. These grants will help states offer standardized recipes that use local agricultural products and reflect local food practices and preferences. Learn more.

 USDA and EPA Offer Funding to Revitalize Communities Through Foodways

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and USDA invite communities to apply for technical assistance to help revitalize their economies, promote local foods, improve health, and protect the environment. Local Foods, Local Places helps communities revitalize neighborhoods through development of local food systems. To date, 108 communities have participated. Learn more.

 General Resources

 OPPE Website

The 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 us at

 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. 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.


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. Among their initiatives, a new Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge (RPIC), which offers funding and technical assistance to help communities enhance capacity for broadband access; preserve cultural and historic structures; and support the development of transportation, housing, and recreational spaces. Get started.


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.


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


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.

USAJobs search for jobs for recent graduates at USDA.

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


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