Farm Aid Northeast BIPOC Farmers Relief Fund

Katelyn Walley, Business Management Specialist and Team Leader
Southwest New York Dairy, Livestock and Field Crops Program

July 23, 2020

Originally published on

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The Northeast BIPOC Farmer Relief Fund is now accepting applications from BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) folks living in the Northeast who work in agriculture and have been economically impacted by the COVID crisis. 


In order to be eligible for funding, you must:

  • Identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color)
  • Work on a farm, ranch, in agriculture, or as a fisherperson
  • Live in any of the following states or tribal land in this region: Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington DC
  • Have been impacted economically by the COVID-19 pandemic

To ensure that this fund reaches folks who may have been excluded from other relief efforts, we have made the criteria and application as simple as possible. Rest assured that you: 

  • Do not have to own a farm, ranch or fishing business, as long as you work in agriculture or fishing
  • Do not have to prove specific loss amounts with receipts or other documentation
  • Do not have to share any information about your immigration status
  • Do not have to speak or read English (see the top of the page for information in other languages)
  • Do not have to apply online - we will be accepting applications over the phone. Please call Jen Himes 814.349.9856 x701 between 1-6pm Eastern Monday - Friday if you want to submit your application over the phone. 

How to apply

Please fill out this short and simple application to be considered for funding: APPLICATION LINK

  • If you would like to apply online in a language other than English, please scroll up and click on the language you'd like to use.
  • If you would like to apply over the phone in English, please contact Jen Himes at or 814.349.9856 x701 between 1-6pm Eastern Monday - Friday
  • If you would like to apply over the phone in a language other than English, please contact Melanie Allen at to request phone interpretation. 

Relevant Dates

  • Date application closes: August 10, 2020
  • Date applicants will be notified: August 24, 2020 or earlier
  • Date checks will be mailed out: September 6, 2020

Frequently Asked Questions

How will recipients be determined?
All applicants who meet the basic criteria (BIPOC, working in agriculture, impacted financially by COVID) will be rated on a rubric that takes into account the following:

  • Farming practices: prioritize producers that use sustainable, regenerative or environmentally sound growing practices.
  • Contribution to community at large: prioritize producers who demonstrate a connectedness to their community; and/or their food reaches people that are experiencing food apartheid.
  • Balance between rural, suburban, urban, and tribal lands: making sure we provide relief to diverse geographic locations across the region.
  • Household income dependent on farming: prioritize people whose financial wellbeing is dependent on farming.

How much are relief payments for?
Relief payments are for $500. 

How many applicants will receive funding?
Currently the total pool of funding is $100,000, which will allow for 200 applicants to receive funding.

Can multiple people in the same farming business receive a relief payment?
Yes, as long as you don't live in the same household.

Can multiple people in the same household receive a relief payment?
No, payments are restricted to one per household. 

Are there requirements for how checks are spent?
These funds are meant to offset household expenses, but recipients will not be asked to report on how funds were used.

How long will it take me to complete the application?
Anticipated time it takes to complete the application is 10-15 minutes.

Can I see a copy of the questions before applying?
Yes, you can view a copy here. Please note - you must either apply online by clicking this link or call Jen Himes at Pasa Sustainable Agriculture at  814.349.9856 x701, Monday - Friday, 8am-5pm Eastern to apply over the phone.

I don't have reliable access to the internet. Can you help me apply?
Yes. You can apply over the phone by Jen Himes at 814.349.9856 x701, Monday - Friday, 1-6pm Eastern.

I don't speak English. Do you have this application in other languages?
Yes. The application is translated into the following languages: Nepali, Bengali, Hatian/Creyol, French, Somali, Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Tagalog/Pilipino, Spanish, Kirundi/Kinyarwanda. Scroll to the top of this page to click on the language you need.

I don't speak English and I need to apply over the phone. Can you help me apply?
Yes. Please reach out to Melanie Allen at and she will help arrange interpretation for you.

Why are you giving these funds only to BIPOC folks?
BIPOC folks have received COVID relief funds at disproportionately lower rates than white individuals, while the COVID crisis has impacted BIPOC communities at disproportionately higher rates than white communities. Both of these disparities are the result of structural racism.  A few examples below:

  • Federal CARES Act funding has prioritized businesses who have relationships with banks, which have a history of denying access to BIPOC individuals.
  • COVID stimulus checks are not available to those without legal immigration status. 
  • The USDA has a longstanding history of discriminating against BIPOC farmers in distributing program funds, as was the subject of several high profile lawsuits where farmers of color successfully sued the agency, including the Pigford and Keepseagle cases.

The amount recipients will get from this initiative is not by any means meant to rectify the racism in how previous (and current funds) have been distributed, but it is one small step to acknowledge and address these disparities. 

Who is providing these funds?
Farm Aid is providing the funds. In addition to the Northeast, they have provided similar pools of funds to regions around the United States, and have historically provided relief funds to farmers during crises that impact farmers' ability to survive. Visit to learn more.

I would like to support this effort. How can I make a donation?
Thank you for supporting this! You can donate at

Who is shaping this process?
This initiative is a collaboration of a group of farm and food systems organizations in the Northeast who have collectively determined the criteria and review process and will be reviewing applications. Participating organizations include:

  • Black Dirt Farming Collective
  • Black Farmer Fund
  • Black Urban Gardeners  and Farmers of Pittsburgh Cooperative
  • Dreaming Out Loud
  • Farm Alliance of Baltimore
  • Farm Fresh Rhode Island
  • Just Food
  • Land For Good
  • National Young Farmers Coalition
  • Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust
  • Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Jersey
  • Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York
  • Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont
  • Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (NESAWG)
  • Pasa Sustainable Agriculture
  • Rural Vermont
  • Soil Generation
  • The Carrot Project
  • Urban Tree Connection

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