The Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF) was created in 2018 by the settlement of Keepseagle v. Vilsack and 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 developed content with practical application to the success of Native farmers and ranchers in line with the four areas important to the success of Native farmers and ranchers — business assistance, agricultural education, technical support, and advocacy. Funds may be used for project support, general and organizational support, scholarships, re-granting, lending programs, or capital expenditures.
The four entities supported through this RFA include:
CDFIs — Applications are sought from CDFIs or Native CDFIs that meet the definition of eligible entities and currently provide agricultural lending to Native farmers and ranchers. These entities are not required to provide any specific percentage of their available pool for lending to Native farmers and ranchers but should have demonstrated activity or need in the agriculture lending area. There is no set limit on the maximum amount of funding a single CDFI or Native CDFI may seek, but no CDFI may request the full amount of available funding ($6,000,000 in this pool).
Educational Institutions — Grants will be awarded in support of educational organizations recognized as such by the IRS that currently provide food and agriculture-related classroom training, classroom education programs, agriculture programs, and/or professional or certificate programs in ag law, veterinary, engineering, or related areas; scholarships; curriculum development; and applied research in topics important to the success of Native farmers and ranchers, including career technical training. Grants of up to $200,000 will be awarded from an available pool of $1.5 million.
Nonprofit Organizations — Grants will be awarded in support of projects related to business assistance, technical support, agricultural education, or advocacy. Nonprofit organizations must provide proof that they currently serve Native farmers and ranchers. Grants of up to $200,000 will be awarded from an available pool of $3.5 million.
Tribal Governments — Grants will be awarded in support of agriculture infrastructure (brick and mortar, transportation, logistics, storage, and related activities) central to the success of Native farmers and ranchers. Infrastructure can include meat processing plants, vegetable and fruit packing houses, food hubs, grain terminal and storage facilities, distribution and logistics systems, and similar components in the food infrastructure and supply chain. Applications for value-added agriculture enterprise development and regionalized/localized intertribal food systems development are also sought. Activities can also include feasibility studies, market studies, or the securing of architectural, engineering, legal, or other technical advisors for future value-added agriculture enterprises; and drafting or implementing tribal policies or sovereign authority over the food system. Grants of up to $200,000 will be awarded from an available pool of $3 million.
Youth Programming — Grants are awarded in support of programs that use youth engagement in agriculture, including K-12 classroom activities, community youth gardens, community youth ag policy councils, FFA or 4-H, youth food summits, and the mobilization of Native youth to take on more roles in food systems and food production development activities. Grants of up to $60,000 will be awarded from an available pool of $1 million.
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.