FORT THOMPSON (AP) - A nonprofit on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation is among several organizations across the country sharing $8.4 million in federal grants to help socially disadvantaged, tribal and veteran farmers and ranchers.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded over $169,000 to Fort Thompson-based Hunkpati Investments Inc., which helps individuals and businesses through education, access to capital and entrepreneurial development services.

Hunkpati Investments offers entrepreneurs micro loans starting at $500, as well as other small business loans. Individuals with past credit troubles or no credit history can also apply to receive a loan through a plan designed to help them increase their credit score.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the grants will "help bring traditionally underserved people into farming, as well as veterans who want to return home to rural areas."