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For questions concerning the definition of Limited Resource Farming and/or supporting economic data, contact: Mark Peters, Economist, FPAC Business Center.

This site is provided by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.


Limited Resource Farmer and Rancher - (LRF/R)
Socially Disadvantaged Farmer Definition

Socially Disadvantaged Farmer or Rancher or Agricultural Producer


According to Section 2501(e)(2) of the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (7 USC 2279(e)(2)), a Socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher (SDA) is defined as a farmer or rancher who is a member of a “Socially Disadvantaged Group". Therefore a "Socially Disadvantaged Farmer or Rancher" is defined as:

  1. Socially disadvantaged group- a group whose members have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities. The definition that applies to Titles I, V, and VI includes members of a group subject to gender prejudice, while the definition that applies to Titles II, IX, XII, and XV does not. Title XIV and the Education and Risk Management Assistance provision in Title XII do not make specific reference to the statutory definition of socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher.
  2. Socially disadvantaged Farmer or Rancher- a farmer or rancher who has been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudices because of their identity as a member of a group without regard to their individual qualities. This term means a farmer or rancher who is a member of a socially disadvantaged group. Specifically, a group whose members have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their individual qualities. Those groups include African Americans, American Indians or Alaskan natives, Hispanics, and Asians or Pacific Islanders.

USDA maintains this definition for the 2008 Farm Bill.

Farm Bill Programs

The 2008 Farm Act includes participation incentives and improved access to farm programs for beginning, limited-resource, and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers. This Act states that:

"The Secretary of Agriculture . . . shall provide outreach and technical assistance to encourage and assist socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers to own and operate farms and ranches and to participate in agricultural programs."

Though not all Titles address the needs of all groups, provisions appear in

This Act authorizes the Secretary to set aside 5 percent of available EQIP funds and CSP acres for socially disadvantaged farmers or ranchers and allow up to 90 percent cost share for socially disadvantaged, limited resource and beginning farmers or ranchers. See also, Provisions for Historically Underserved Groups. Please also see the following information on Conservation Opportunities in the 2008 Farm Bill for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers, Beginning Farmers and Ranchers, and Limited Resource Farmers and Ranchers:

What Are We Doing

NRCS has focused on understanding the number, location, and specific problems of socially disadvantaged farmers in various locations, including a detailed analysis using the 1987 Census of Agriculture. In addition, NRCS has held workshops, chaired conferences to learn more about the specific needs of socially disadvantaged farmers, and funded studies and outreach through colleges and universities (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Strategic Planning Team). NRCS along with other USDA agencies, such as FSA/Farm Credit Programs, conduct outreach and extension through 1890 universities, minority farm organizations, the Federation of Southern Cooperatives, and other entities.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).

To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C., 20250-9410, or call (202) 720-5964 (voice or TDD).

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Updated 11/01/2010

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