StateNM 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 pilot projects aimed at improving soil health, as well as related education and outreach efforts. Check the website for open RFPs. 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
FederalAmerican Rescue Plan Offers Debt Relief to BIPOC Producers
The American Rescue Plan enacted this spring included $5 billion in direct aid for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) farmers, explains the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC). NSAC reports that the USDA Farm Service Administration will be responsible for distributing the approximately $4 billion in farm debt relief payments for BIPOC producers who have farm loans made directly by FSA or through private lenders with USDA guarantees. All Black, Native American, Alaskan Native, Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Hispanic/Latino farmers with specified loan types are eligible for relief. Debt relief payments will be made automatically and do not require farmers to apply for payment.
For more information and how to apply, read the NSAC blog post. On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is seeking proposals for On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials that feature collaboration between NRCS and partners to implement on-the-ground conservation activities and then evaluate their impact. Incentive payments are provided to producers to offset the risk of implementing innovative approaches. NRCS is seeking proposals that address at least one of the following four On-Farm Trial priorities: climate-smart agricultural solutions, soil health demonstration trial, irrigation water management, or management technologies and strategies. NRCS will invest up to $25 million on On-Farm Trials in 2021. This total includes up to $10 million for the Soil Health Demonstration Trials priority.
Proposals are due by June 21, 2021. Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)
USDA recently announced $75M in funding from the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) via the Alternative Funding Arrangements (AFA) to improve flexibility for local partners to help farmers meet conservation and soil health needs. NRCS will support up to 15 projects related to climate smart agriculture and forestry this year.
Application deadline May 28, 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 carlos.contreras.@nm.usda.gov 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 carlos.contreras.@nm.usda.gov 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. GRASSROOTS GUIDE TO FEDERAL FARM AND FOOD PROGRAMS
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. ORGANIC FARMERS GUIDE TO FEDERAL LOANS
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. FarmRaise
FarmRaise is a new online resource that serves as a one-stop shop for farm funding that matches farmers with grants, cost-share programs, and loans, and then helps them apply by simplifying and de-jargoning the paperwork. FarmRaise is free for farmers to use to access more than 40 federal funding opportunities. The team at FarmRaise believes that accessible funding will help farmers to not only address their short-term financial needs, but also invest in long-term assets: clean water, clean air, biodiversity, and healthy soils!
FoundationsLocal 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
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.
DirectoriesNCAT/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 AccessFinding 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.