Udall, Heinrich, Luján Announce USDA Grants for Native Americans, Veterans for Agricultural Training and Support

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representative Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) announced the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded the Not Forgotten Outreach organization $200,766 to train veterans in agricultural practices to support their transition from military to civilian life. The USDA also awarded the Indian Nations Conservation Alliance (INCA) $224,412 for outreach programs to improve access to USDA tribal grant assistance.

“Communities in Northern New Mexico and across our state have a proud tradition of inter-generational service to our country. Supporting our veterans when they come home from deployment by helping them transition back to civilian life is a key priority that often lacks the proper financial resources. The Not Forgotten Outreach organization will use these federal grant funds to support veteran access to healthy food and agricultural training,” said Udall, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “Our Tribal communities also face significantly greater barriers to accessing federal resources than other Americans. Outreach organizations, like INCA, help to bridge this disparity. Using federally appropriated funds, INCA connects federal resources to Native American farmers and ranchers. I’ve championed funding for this program for many years and I’ll continue to fight for resources to equip our veterans with the resources and training they deserve as they return home, and I’ll keep working to ensure the government upholds its obligations to Native Americans.”

“I have had the honor of seeing firsthand how the Not Forgotten Outreach center supports and changes the lives of America’s bravest after their service to this country. The organization is truly dedicated to local veterans and their families by helping them reintegrate into civilian life with the incorporation of agricultural practices that allow them access the outdoors and healthy foods. I am proud to announce this well-deserved funding,” said Heinrich. “In that same spirit, I am also incredibly grateful to see INCA receive critical funding that will help them continue their efforts to increase Native farmer, rancher, and veteran participation in USDA programs. I will continue to fight for tribal and veteran access to New Mexico’s diverse agriculture community and ensure that these funding opportunities are available well into the future.”

“As New Mexicans, we understand the importance of supporting our communities and addressing disparities that leave vulnerable populations without the resources or support they deserve. I’m proud to announce these federal grants to support Native communities’ participation in agricultural opportunities, as well as supporting veterans and their families transition to civilian life. Outreach organizations like INCA help Native American communities access grants that support farmers, ranchers, and veterans. The Not Forgotten Outreach organization assists veterans through agriculture training and provides healthy foods for veterans and military families to ease in the transition,” said Assistant Speaker Luján.

The awarded grants are available through the USDA’s Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (also known as the 2501 Program) managed by the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE).

Indian Nations Conservation Alliance

INCA is a national tribal conservation-district (TCD) organization focusing on outreach and assistance concerning USDA programs available to tribal farmers and ranchers. INCA works to remove barriers that keep Native American farmers and ranchers, and veterans, from participating in USDA’s programs. INCA provides USDA agency program information through newsletters, webinars and trainings to explaining programs and assists Native American and Veteran farmers and ranchers by helping them complete applications. 

Not Forgotten Outreach

Through NFO VetCorps, members will receive agricultural training and resources to assist them with transitioning from military to civilian life. VetCorps serves as a military veteran or family member’s second mission, through providing healthy food to local, low-income families. Primary populations served: NFO’s target audience for this proposal is Veterans and Military Families in Taos County and Northern New Mexico, which has a deeply rooted culture of military service. We are looking specifically to serve beginning ranchers and farmers who will look to use the skills learned in VetCorps to later develop or start their own farms.