With funding from the Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF) REDCO will train beginning farmers and engage youth through an incubator farm, increase access to credit through Tatanka Fund CDFI, study organic industrial hemp production feasibility and determine viability for a USDA certified meat processing facility. REDCO fosters and promotes economic development for the Sicangu Lakota. A broad range of supportive services to farmers and ranchers is currently being provided. REDCO joins over 80 projects which will be funded for a total commitment of $10 million. Funds are being used to catalyze Native-led organizations working within Native communities. Many projects strike at the core of the issues that led to creation of NAAF: access to credit to support Native agriculture. “This very first round of applications gave us a glimpse of the huge potential there is to make a significant impact in access to credit for Native farmers and ranchers,” said Elsie Meeks who serves as chairwoman of the NAAF Board of Trustees. NAAF was created in 2018 as a twenty-year spend-down private, charitable trust as part of the settlement of the Keepseagle v. Vilsack litigation. NAAF is focused solely on improving the success of Native farmers and ranchers. NAAF is authorized to fund grants to four entity types: non-profit organizations, educational organizations, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Tribal governments for the purpose of promoting mission areas of business assistance, agricultural education, technical support, and advocacy to bolster Native food and agriculture in our communities.
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