NMDA Healthy Soil Program
The Healthy Soil Program (HSP) was created when the Healthy Soil Act was signed into law on April 2, 2019. The purpose of the program is “to promote and support farming and ranching systems and other forms of land management that increase soil organic matter, aggregate stability, microbiology and water retention to improve the health, yield and profitability of the soils of the state.”  This purpose is achieved by funding projects aimed at improving soil health, as well as related education and outreach efforts. Check the website for open RFPs.

NMDA Agricultural Workforce DevelopmentProgram
The application process is currently open for the NM Department of Agriculture (NMDA) Agricultural Workforce Development Program. Through this program, NMDA will reimburse a participating agricultural business up to 50% of the actual cost to employ intern(s) on their farm or ranch operation, up to $5,000 per intern. A business may hire up to three interns in one year and the internship must be at least 130 hours long. The application period opened on Monday August 2, 2021 and will close when funds are fully allocated or on Dec. 7, 2021, whichever comes first. Funds will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis and must be fully expended by June 15, 2022.
More information on the NMDA website

NM Local Economic Development Act (LEDA)
83 New Mexico communities have now passed a Local Economic Development Act (LEDA). Through passing LEDA, a community adopts an ordinance creating an economic development organization and a strategic plan. The enactment and utilization of LEDA allows public support of economic development to foster, promote, and enhance local economic development efforts while continuing to protect against the unauthorized use of public money and other public resources.  This empowers communities to embark on economic development projects tailored to their local needs. In essence, LEDA is used to enter into a “public private partnership” for an economic benefit. This can include agricultural business ventures: Growing Rural Communities from Within


Pandemic Response and Safety (PRS) Grant program
USDA announced on September 9, 2021 it will soon publish Requests for Applications (RFAs) for this new grant program to support agricultural stakeholders who haven’t yet received substantial federal financial assistance in responding to the COVID-19 crisis. This grant program will provide assistance to small businesses in certain commodity areas, including small scale specialty crop producers and processors, meat and other processors, distributors and farmers markets. Approximately $650 million in funding is available for the PRS grants. Updated information will be available on the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) website:

Indigenous Communities program
Through the Indigenous Communities program, EDA is allocating $100 million in American Rescue Plan funding specifically for Indigenous communities, which were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. This program is designed to support the needs of Tribal Governments and Indigenous communities to develop and execute economic development projects needed to recover from the pandemic and build economies for the future. A wide range of technical, planning, workforce development, entrepreneurship, and public works and infrastructure projects are eligible for funding under this program. Indigenous communities are also eligible and encouraged to apply under all of EDA’s other programs. Learn more

USDA Racial Justice and Equity Conservation Cooperative Agreements USDA is investing up to $50 million to support historically underserved farmers and ranchers with climate-smart agriculture and forestry. Racial Justice and Equity Conservation Cooperative Agreements are available to expand delivery of conservation assistance to farmers who are beginning, limited resource, socially disadvantaged, and veterans. Applications must be received by October 25, 2021.

Rural Business Development Grants (RBDG)
This program is designed to provide technical assistance and training for small rural businesses. Small means that the business has fewer than 50 new workers and less than $1 million in gross revenue. Funds may be used for a variety of purposes, including training and technical assistance, acquisition or development of land or rural business incubators. Solar projects on farms and ranches (e.g. solar-powered water pumps) may be eligible for funding. Grant amounts range from $2,500 -$500,000. For more information, contact Carlos Contreras 505-761-4958 at the USDA RD Albuquerque office.

Value Added Producer Grants (VAPG)
This program helps agricultural producers enter into value-added activities related to the processing and marketing of new products. The goals of this program are to generate new products, create and expand marketing opportunities and increase producer income. You may receive priority if you are a beginning farmer or rancher, a socially-disadvantaged farmer or rancher, a small or medium-sized farm or ranch structured as a family farm, a farmer or rancher cooperative or are proposing a mid-tier value chain. Maximum grant amounts for Planning Grants $75,000; Working Capital Grants: $250,000.For more information, contact Carlos Contreras 505-761-4958 at the USDA RD Albuquerque office.

Western SARE
SARE’s mission is to advance—to the whole of American agriculture—innovations that improve profitability, stewardship and quality of life by investing in groundbreaking research and education. Western SARE provides grants in several categories: Research and Education, Professional Development, Farmer/Rancher, Professional/Producer, Graduate Student in Sustainable Agriculture and Research to Grassroots. Each of these grants is available at specific times of the year. Check the website for deadlines and more information.

Natural Resources Conservation Planning for Tribal Producers
The Intertribal Agriculture Council is working with the NRCS in an effort to further enhance the stewardship of Native American lands by providing improved access to conservation planning technical assistance, management resources, and useful land stewardship tools. This presents Native producers with a unique opportunity to build upon their land stewardship knowledge base as they continue to improve the sustainability, health and profitability of their operation’s resources. As always, our programs are made available at no cost to Tribal producers.

USDA/NRCS Financial Assistance
NRCS offers voluntary programs to eligible landowners and agricultural producers to provide financial and technical assistance to help manage natural resources in a sustainable manner. Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG): Through these programs the agency approves contracts to provide financial assistance to help plan and implement conservation practices that address natural resource concerns or opportunities to help save energy, improve soil, water, plant, air, animal and related resources on agricultural lands and non-industrial private forest land. Contact your local NRCS Field Office for more information and to start working on conservation planning.

By the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s (NSAC). This guide provides an in-depth look at dozens of federal programs and policies most important to sustainable agriculture, and details how they can be accessed by farmers, ranchers, and grassroots organizations nationwide. Includes information about the following federal programs: Beginning & Socially Disadvantaged Farmers, Conservation & Environment, Credit & Crop Insurance, Food Safety, Healthy Food Access, Local & Regional Food Systems, Organic Production Renewable Energy, Rural Development, and Sustainable & Organic Research.

Not just for organic producers, this great summary gives you an overview about available federal programs. See what might be right for your business, including beginning farmer loans, conservation costs, innovation grants, value added producer grants, aggie bonds and private sector support.


Local Farmer Innovation Enterprise (LIFE) Grants
The New Mexico Farmers’ Marketing Association is offering grants of up to $3,000 for farmers wishing to solve problems, test innovations, or mitigate risk. Grant applications must meet one of these two purposes: 1. To expand specialty crop varieties and/or crop volume sold through New Mexico retail outlets; 2. To pilot or expand regenerative agriculture practices. If you are considering a regenerative project, you will need to address any or all of the 5 Key Principles of Soil Health. Check the website for more information and deadlines.

Micro-Loan Programs for New Mexico Farmers
Various micro-loans are offered through New Mexico Farmers’ Marketing Association, Santa Fe Farmers’ Market  Institute, La Montañita (LaM) Fund and Kiva Zip. To learn more, visit the websites.

Farmers of Color Network Infrastructure Fund
Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA (RAFI-USA) launched the Farmers of Color Network in 2017 to assist farmers in accessing farm infrastructure resources, securing land and other assets, supporting farmer-to-farmer learning, and providing technical support. The new Infrastructure Fund builds on the success of previous RAFI-USA regranting programs and will focus exclusively on farmers of color in several Southern states. The next round of funding will be awarded in Spring 2021.

Akiptan is a Native American Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that provides loans and technical assistance to those in Indian Agriculture. Akiptan offers a whole suite of services that include financing youth, start ups, operating costs and ownership and works with the client to assist with technical support as well as provide financial literacy training to help create a knowledgeable borrower.

Seventh Generation Fund
The Seventh Generation Fund is an Indigenous non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and maintaining the uniqueness of Native peoples throughout the Americas. It offers an integrated program of advocacy, small grants, training and technical assistance, media experience and fiscal management, lending its support and extensive expertise to Indigenous grassroots communities. Its Sustainable Communities Program Area provides seed money, organizational support and technical training to Native grassroots community-based projects striving for holistic community health and renewal. It supports traditional agricultural methods, renewable forms of energy and sustainable strategies for development that preserve or restore traditional life-ways for future generations.

NM Small Business Assistance Program
The New Mexico Small Business Assistance (NMSBA) Program provides New Mexico small businesses facing technical challenges access to the expertise and capabilities of Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories at no cost to the business. “Rent a scientist” to perform soil testing or install an on-farm weather station, for example. Applications accepted online on a rolling basis –best to apply early in the year.


NCAT/ATTRA grant database
Nationwide clearinghouse of available grant and funding opportunities within the realm of Sustainable Agriculture.

Farm Aid Online Resource Directory
Farm Aid’s online directory contains more than 750 organizations that work directly with farmers nationwide on a variety of issues, from financial counseling to marketing and conservation. Searchable by state.

Land Access

Finding Farmland Calculator and Online Course
National Young Farmers Coalition designed this free, online tool that young and beginning farmers and ranchers can use to approach the financial decisions related to acquiring land. Compare financing options, analyze costs, and understand what you can afford. También en Español!

LandLink NM is a match-making service designed to connect interested farmers with available land and other resources. LandLink NM is looking for aspiring farmers looking for land, and landowners looking for someone to farm their land.


Holistic Management International is offering scholarships to New Mexico’s farmers and ranchers who want to work with nature in the Land of Enchantment. Applicable towards all HMI courses and private consultation. Apply here!

Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) is offering scholarships of up to $400 for livestock and poultry farmers to attend conferences, workshops and training events – including virtual events. Scholarships will be awarded on a first come, first served basis to eligible farmers until funding is depleted. Apply here!