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Grants available for vets, minority farmers in Va.

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Local,Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Grants are being made available for minority farmers and ranchers and military veterans in Virginia who are new to farming and ranching.

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says more than $9 million in federal funding is available.

Officials say the funds are to help community-based organizations and others work directly with veterans and minority farmers to successfully acquire, own and operate farms and ranches.

According to the 2012 Agricultural Census, minority and historically under-represented communities are part of the continued growth among new and beginning farmers and ranchers.

The census shows 22 percent of all farmers were beginning farmers in 2012.

Applications are being accepted through Aug. 25 and must be submitted through www.grants.gov.

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