In 2018 First Nations launched a new grant program to support Native American farmers and ranchers. This grant program is an outgrowth of the Keepseagle v. Vilsack case that spanned more than 18 years in federal litigation. Funding for the effort comes to First Nations from the Keepseagle-related Native American Agriculture Fast-Track Fund (NAAFTF).
First Nations’ effort – known as the “Keepseagle Fast-Track Grants to Support Native Farmers & Ranchers” – falls under First Nations’ existing Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative (NAFSI). Under the new program, First Nations awards grants to organizations in Native communities, with the goal of growing and/or expanding direct services to and/or programs that serve or directly collaborate with Native American farmers and ranchers.
Selected grantees must use the funding to support projects in Native communities with the goal of growing and/or expanding services or programs to Native American farmers and ranchers. Examples of allowable activities under this funding opportunity include, but are not limited to:
- Native farmer and rancher trainings
- Capacity and skill-building services offered to producers
- Cooperative management programs
- Projects that focus on multiple producers
- Intergenerational or youth-focused farming and ranching programs
- Engaging farmers and ranchers in plans for local food-system control
- Program focused on increasing business operations or access to capital
- Projects connecting farms to market opportunities, technical assistance and more
The first grants under the Keepseagle initiative were awarded in 2019.