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Deadline: September 30, 2019

Native American Agriculture Fund

The Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF) provides grants to organizations for business assistance, agricultural education, technical support, and advocacy services to support Native farmers and ranchers. NAAF has determined that there will be four primary priority areas and an additional four special emphasis areas for which funding will be provided during the 2019 funding cycle.

The four key priority areas are:

  • CDFIs: Applications are sought from CDFIs or Native CDFIs that 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 in this lending area.
  • Educational institutions: Funding will support institutions that 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, or related advanced agricultural business areas.
  • Nonprofit organizations: These 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. They are required to reflect the percentage of their larger portfolio of activities that are focused solely on the needs of Native farmers and ranchers. Nonprofit organizations may seek funding for enhancement of their own knowledge in the food and agriculture sector to encourage their employees and staff to have deeper understanding of the agriculture sector and needs of Native farmers and ranchers but the internal capacity development funds sought cannot be the majority of their proposed activities or budget for which funding is sought.
  • Tribal governments: Applications are being sought for the narrow area of “value-added” agriculture enterprise development. Funding can be sought for feasibility studies, the securing of architectural, engineering, legal, or other technical advisors for future value-added agriculture enterprises provided that those Tribal governments seeking funds are “shovel ready.” Tribes must be prepared to move to the next step towards investing in and creating value-added infrastructure that Native farmers and ranchers need in order to secure or maintain access to current or future markets, expand products available for the market, obtain the specialized technical support necessary in order to access, or maintain presence in markets.

The NAAF is also seeking proposals in four key special emphasis areas:

  • Traditional foods and food sovereignty programs: NAAF will provide funding for a small group of projects focused solely on the opportunities to: 1) establish a new focus area for an existing food sovereignty/traditional foods program; 2) explore “scaling up” existing food sovereignty or traditional foods programs to increase acreages under production involved within those programs or to expand the scope of those “scaling up” activities already in place; or 3) secondary or follow-up activities to implement an existing food sovereignty assessment process.
  • Hemp Production Analysis: NAAF is seeking to fund a group of projects that can be focused on any of the following areas: 1) partial funding for project feasibility and market analysis studies for emerging industrial hemp crop production; 2) partial project feasibility and market analysis for emerging value-added hemp product manufacturing businesses; 3) analysis of transportation, testing, self-regulation and Tribal government regulatory needs in order to engage in the market; or 4) development of Tribal plans authorized under the 2018 Farm Bill for regulation that will support Tribal self-governance in the emerging industrial hemp industry.
  • Youth Programming: Projects that focus on the inter-generational shift that is happening across Indian Country. Youth engagement in agriculture can occur in many ways: classroom, K-12, community youth gardens, community youth Ag policy councils, Future Farmers of America (FFA), 4-H, youth food summits, and in many other ways. NAAF is also interested in investing in programs that provide information and guidance to those Native youth who are interested in choosing food and agriculture (farming and ranching or food system businesses) as their career choice.
  • The Agriculture Sciences: NAAF will provide funding through scholarships to attend existing agriculture sciences programs, regardless of the type of degree awarding institution or regardless of whether the educational program is undergraduate, graduate, professional degree, legal, veterinary, or other agriculture-related professions, or training in agricultural business-related fields. There is an interest in funding applications of at least two types: 1) programs that are broad scholarship programs for individual students that are focused on competitive annual scholarships/stipends to attend agricultural science programs regardless of location; or 2) programs that are single- or multiple institution based agricultural science programs focused on recruitment and engagement of Native students for a specific degree program or a specific course of study.

Amount: Determined by type of applicant or special emphasis area, as follows:

1. Types of applicants:

  • CDFIs or Native CDFIs: A pool of $2,000,000 will be available. There is no set limit on the amount of total available funding for any one project, but additional consideration will be given to those applicants who seek to serve the broadest number of potential Native farmers and ranchers within the scope of their request. Multiple projects in this category are expected to be awarded.
  • Educational Institutions: A total of $2,000,000 in funding is allowed for this target area of funding. There is no upper or lower limit on the amount of funds requested.
  • Nonprofit organizations: There is an available pool of $2,000,000 for projects in this category and no upper limit on the amount of funding sought for any particular project.
  • Tribal governments: There is an available $2,000,000 for projects in this area. All projects should seek to limit their applications to no more than $75,000 in total budget funding sought; NAAF will entertain higher

2. Special emphasis area:

  • Traditional foods and food sovereignty programs: A total of $500,000 is available to fund projects of up to $75,000 each.
  • Hemp production analysis: A total of $500,000 is available. No budget limitations are indicated.
  • Youth Programming: A total of $500,000 is available. No budget limitations are indicated.
  • The Agriculture Sciences: A total of $500,000 is available in this category. There is no maximum request limit set.


  • Nonprofit organizations with IRS Section 501c3 tax-exempt status or organizations that apply through a fiscal agent
  • Educational institutions described in Section 170(b)(1)(A)(ii) of the Internal Revenue Code
  • Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), including Certified Native CDFIs and Emerging Native CDFIs, provided however that such CDFI is a tax-exempt organization described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code
  • An instrumentality of a state or federally recognized Tribe, including a non-profit organization chartered under the Tribal law of a state or federally recognized Tribe, that furnishes assistance designed to further Native American farming or ranching activities amounts in the request but those entities that stay within the limit identified will receive higher consideration for funding

Link: https://nativeamericanagriculturefund.org/grants/#1559601717961-c28dbf58-2014

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