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John Shea, (202) 690-0437


WASHINGTON, Jun 20, 2006 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Risk Management Agency Administrator Eldon Gould honored World Refugee Day by announcing the availability of $500,000 to fund educational programs to teach refugees and other low-income individuals who produce specialty crops about risk management and good business practices.

"Refugees are portraits of hope, determination and courage seeking a better life for themselves and their families," said Gould. "To help refugees and others to use their skills in the United States, they need information about the risks and opportunities they may encounter producing specialty crops. This initiative will leverage the ongoing efforts by the federal government and other community organizations to provide educational outreach that will help these producers establish successful operations."

The Rural Initiative for New American Farmers was prompted by an agreement between the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to coordinate policies and activities to assist refugees and low income individuals engage in farming and rural entrepreneurship. Because many refugees often come from agrarian societies, a large number were formerly involved in farming or rural enterprises.

A maximum of ten partnership agreements will be funded and the maximum award for any of the agreements will be $50,000. The deadline for applications for this program is July 17, 2006. Organizations interested in applying should go to Applications may be made online at or by mail, following the instructions contained in the announcement on the RMA Web site.