WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich announced $363,239 in federal grant funding to provide technical assistance to the Southwest Cooperative Development Center Inc. and Capacity Builders Inc., two organizations that help socially disadvantaged agricultural producers in Mora and San Juan counties to expand their operations and create jobs.
The Southwest Cooperative Development Center Inc. will receive $188,255 to provide accounting and financial management training to socially disadvantaged producers, and to help develop cooperative and Native American food hubs in Mora County. Capacity Builders Inc. will receive $174,984 to provide technical assistance, legal advice, feasibility studies and business plan assistance through their Mother Earth Agricultural Initiative, which offers assistance to socially disadvantaged producers in the highly rural eastern portion of the Navajo Nation and Mora County.
“Agriculture is important to the economy in Mora and San Juan counties and throughout New Mexico, and this funding will help to ensure that small producers and business owners have the tools and capital they need to expand,” Udall said. "As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I will continue to fight for resources to support New Mexico agricultural producers as they work to grow their operations, provide healthy food options for New Mexico families, and create jobs for hard-working New Mexicans.”
“These investments will help ensure our small family farmers and ranchers in Mora and San Juan Counties have the necessary resources – such as technical and business plan assistance – to expand production and create new jobs,” Heinrich said. “New Mexico’s agriculture industry is an economic driver and has shaped our state’s history, as many growers here come from families that have cultivated land for generations. I will continue to support these important investment programs that help our local agriculture industry thrive.”
The funding is being awarded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Small, Socially Disadvantaged Producer Grant program, which provides technical assistance through cooperatives and cooperative development centers. Grants are awarded annually on a competitive basis, and the maximum award amount per grant is $200,000.