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Northeast Oklahoma butterfly farm receives grant to support underserved producers

Thomas Dunkerton
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Monarch butterflies are an important native pollinator.

Euchee Butterfly Farm is receiving almost $750,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide Indigenous producers access to departmental resources.

The farm is a nonprofit located south of Bixby with the goal of improving the lives of Native people, plants and pollinators. The grant is for a project providing conferences, workshops and classes through the farm’s learning center.

There are nearly 14,000 Indigenous-owned farms in Oklahoma, according to USDA’s Agriculture Census. But low quality land, lack of financial resources and access to information are a few challenges some Native producers have when owning or operating a farm.

In an announcement, Lisa Ramirez, director of USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement, said the grants are to help producers gain more resources and knowledge to be successful.

“This program is part of USDA’s commitment to equity and inclusion for underserved communities and reducing barriers to USDA programs and resources,” Ramirez said.

The funding is through the latest round of grants from USDA’s 2501 Program. The initiative was created in the 1990s for producers who have historically had limited access to department loans, grants, training and technical assistance.

In 2014, the program was expanded to include veterans.

All grants are awarded to higher education institutions, nonprofit and community-based organizations. In full, USDA is giving almost $28 million in grants for underserved and veteran producers to 41 organizations in 27 states.

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Anna Pope is a reporter covering agriculture and rural issues at KOSU as a corps member with Report for America.
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