LONGMONT, Colo. — First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) has received a $200,000 grant from the USDA’s Office of Advocacy and Outreach (OAO) for an effort to boost the viability and profitability of Native American farmers and ranchers while also improving their knowledge of and access to USDA resources in general, and for historically underserved communities in particular.
The project will provide training and outreach to two cohorts totaling 27 selected Native farmers and ranchers and tribal farm-to-school programs. It will increase their successful participation in USDA programs and build their capacity to manage agriculture and food-system operations in their communities.
The first cohort will continue efforts with 12 Native farmers and ranchers who participated in First Nations’ 2016 training and are engaged in tribal farm-to-school programs. They will participate in trainings using First Nations’The Business of Indian Agriculture curriculum, which is designed to help farmers and ranchers succeed in managing their businesses. Through the training they will learn how to develop a business plan, how to set up bookkeeping systems, and marketing. In addition, information on accessing available USDA farm-to-school resources will be presented. Upon completion of the training, participants will be provided professional technical assistance in order to create plans that will prepare them to apply to the USDA for Farm-to-School Program grants in the fall of 2017.
The second cohort will involve 15 Native farmers and ranchers who have stated an interest in participating in additional USDA programs. They will attend a newly-designed training focused on that topic, and will also receive follow-up technical assistance on creating business plans. Upon completion, participants will be prepared to apply for USDA loan programs, EQIP participation and/or other USDA grants.
“The Business of Indian Agriculture trainings are proving to be very impactful for our attendees, and they are requesting more individualized training,” noted Jackie Francke, First Nations Vice President of Programs and Administration. “We are very excited to assist in advancing their efforts by providing individualized assistance to accelerate their businesses to the next level.”
The Business of Indian Agriculture trainings will be held March 21-23, 2017, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for producers, and June 27-29, 2017, in Phoenix, Arizona, for trainers. If you are interested in attending you may register at https://www.regonline.com/BoIAMarch2017 or https://www.regonline.com/BoIAJune2017, respectively.
About First Nations Development Institute
For 36 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own — be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources — and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information, visit www.firstnations.org.
—First Nations Development Institute
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