Launched in 2018 after final appeals were denied and the Court approved the settlement of Keepseagle v. Vilsack, the Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF) works to support Native American farmers and ranchers and promote their continued engagement in agriculture.
To that end, NAAF has issued an RFA seeking proposals for projects that deliver content with practical application to the success of Native farmers and ranchers in one of four areas important to that success: business assistance, agricultural education, technical support and advocacy. Funds may be used for project support, scholarships, re-granting, or capital expenditures. NAAF has highlighted four key priority areas: traditional foods and food sovereignty programs; hemp production analysis; youth programming; and the agriculture sciences.
The four entities supported through this RFA include:
CDFIs — Applicants from CDFIs or Native CDFIs that meet the definition of eligible entities that currently provide agricultural lending to Native farmers and ranchers. A pool of $2 million will be made available to fund projects proposed by eligible entities that can provide proof of a current agriculture lending portfolio or proof from (via public input) that such lending opportunities are needed by the Native farmers and ranchers they serve.
Educational Institutions — Applications are sought from educational institutions that currently provide and have in place advanced agricultural business classroom training, or who are ready to provide advanced agricultural business classroom training. The training shall be made available to Native students of the educational institution, can be provided as a certificate program or a degree-seeking program, and should cover such topics as agricultural economics, agricultural financing, agricultural marketing, hedging/futures/trading, agriculture entity selection, risk management, food safety, agriculture law and policy, supply chain/logistics in agriculture, and/or related advanced agricultural business areas. A total of $2 million in funding will be made available in this target area.
Nonprofit Organizations — Institutions may seek funding for any type of project (business assistance, technical support, agricultural education, or advocacy). Nonprofit organizations must provide proof that they currently serve Native farmers and ranchers and are required to demonstrate that the largest percentage of their portfolio of activities is focused on the needs of Native farmers and ranchers. A pool of $2 million will be made available for projects in this category.
Tribal Governments — Funding applications are being sought for the narrow area of "value-added" agriculture enterprise development. Funding can be sought for feasibility studies or the securing of architectural, engineering, legal, or other technical advisors for future value-added agriculture enterprises that are "shovel ready." Up to $2 million will be made available for projects in this area.
Eligible applicants include tax exempt organizations under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, educational organizations, CDFIs or Native CDFIs, and Tribal governments (state or federally-recognized) or instrumentalities of those governments.
See the Native American Agriculture Fund website for complete program guidelines and application instructions.