YOUNG FARMER GRANT PROGRAM
The National Young Farmers Coalition is partnering with Chipotle to offer $5,000 grants to 75 young farmers and ranchers to support them in building careers in agriculture.
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
For the last three years, the National Young Farmers Coalition (Young Farmers) has partnered with Chipotle to support young and beginning farmers and ranchers start up and grow their businesses with a flexible funding opportunity each spring. The program provided 50 farmers and ranchers with $5,000 each in the spring of 2020, 2021, and 2022. Grant recipients also received a one-year membership to the National Young Farmers Coalition.
In our fourth year of the program, we are excited to announce that we will be growing the program to offer 75 grants to a new cohort of young farmers and ranchers in 2023.
In addition to growing the number of grants we are offering this spring, we are adding an additional lens to the program of regenerating soil and community to celebrate the deep and visionary care for land and community that the next generation of farmers embodies.
In 2022 the Coalition conducted a National Survey of over 10,000 young farmers and ranchers across the country. The results indicated an overwhelming majority of young and BIPOC farmers and ranchers embed a care for land and community as a core for their operations, with a vision for the long-term health of both.
Regenerative agriculture broadly refers to an approach to farming and ranching that builds healthy soils and ecosystems, supports climate-resilient farms and communities, and addresses inequity in agriculture. Regenerative practices are not new, they have been innovated by Indigenous communities for thousands of years. We are excited to grow this grant program with the added lens to celebrate this eye to ancient practices as a path forward for the future of agriculture in the US.
This year, sixty-seven awards will go to businesses already in operation, and eight to farm and ranch operations starting up in 2023. Our grant program is available to support farmers and ranchers in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, in addition to the 50 states and Washington D.C.
2023 YOUNG FARMER GRANT RECIPIENTS HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED!
We are excited to share that the 2023 Young Farmer Grant Recipients have been chosen. All applicants have been notified via email. Please check the email address you applied with to find out if you are a recipient.
Meet the grant recipients!
Check out our Program FAQ and sign up for a live Q&A session.
If after reviewing the FAQ, your question is still not answered, please email email@example.com
¿Preguntas? Por favor, póngase en contacto con firstname.lastname@example.org.
No phone calls please.
- This program seeks to support “livelihood farmers and rancher” or those seeking long term careers that financially support them through agriculture. At this time we are not able to offer funding to farmers who are not currently, or are not working, toward making an income farming through long-term careers in agriculture.1
- Applicant must be the operation owner or plan to start their own operation in 2023.
- For non-profit farms without “owners” applicant must be the lead farmer/farm manager.
- Farmer part-owners of cooperative or collective farms are qualified to apply. Please choose just one owner to represent the operation in the application.
- Young farmers and ranchers who are at least 18 and not over 40 years of age as of May 1, 2023.
- Applicant must use farm practices that protect natural resources for future generations.
- Applicant must be farming or ranching in one of the 50 U.S. states, D.C., in Puerto Rico, or in the Virgin Islands.
- There are no preferences for what applicants produce on their operations or for current scale of farm.
- We strongly encourage farmers of color, Indigenous farmers, and farmers who are facing significant structural barriers to accessing other funding opportunities and success in agriculture to apply.
- Staff and Board members of the National Young Farmers Coalition are not eligible to apply.
- Recipients of the 2020 and 2021 Young Farmer Grants are not eligible to apply.
1What does it mean to be a “livelihood farmer/rancher”? This program is designed to support farmers and ranchers who are currently, or are working toward, financially supporting themselves through their agricultural careers. Farmers who own and operate farm operations who also have off farm jobs to support themselves are still eligible to apply as long as they receive some income from their farms and are seeking to either move to full-time farming or for whom farming is their primary career and off-farm work is supplementary.
At this time we are not able to offer funding through this grant program to farmers/ranchers/gardeners who volunteer their time in the agriculture work they do, or to private self-sufficiency growers that are not otherwise operating as farm operations or serving their local food economies.
- Grant recipients will be required to submit two reports:
- A progress report between in the summer of 2023 detailing progress toward goals and any potential changes to original plan
- A final brief written report in October 2023 detailing how the funds were used.
- Grant recipients are required to spend the entirety of their $5,000 grant before their report is due in October 2023.
- Savings accounts for later use are not an eligible application of these funds.
- Applicants must submit a photo with their application. If the applicant is selected, their name and photo will be included in a public announcement of grant recipients on youngfarmers.org and on the Chipotle and the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation websites.
- The National Young Farmers Coalition, Chipotle, and the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation will work with some grant recipients to share their stories nationally through their communications channels. Grant recipients have the option to opt out of this coverage.
- Please note that this grant is taxable income.
This application is designed to guide you through a narrative arc, telling us first about your operation as it is now, then about your longer-term goals. Then, the questions ask you to tell us about the barriers and challenges you face in reaching those goals and how you will use this funding to help you move past or begin to address some of those barriers. Our evaluation criteria are based on how clear a picture you give us of your operation, where this funding will be used, and what kind of difference it will make for you in your long term goals. Successful applications will leave reviewers with a clear understanding of where the grant funds will be used and how that use supports you in your farming career.
Reviewers will be considering four main criteria in evaluating applications:
- Contribution to Farmer Goals:
These funds are designed to help you get closer to achieving your goals in your career as a farmer. A strong application will illustrate how the use of these funds will contribute to the long-term vision you outline in your application. A strong illustration directly links the steps you make with this funding to your options and potential choices down the road in your farm business.
- Addressing Challenges and Barriers to Success:
Priority of selection will be given to applicants who can illustrate how these funds will be used to address a particular challenge they are facing in moving their business forward and the results or changes they expect to see with this funding. Strong applications will illustrate a cause and effect of what this grant funding would allow them to do for their operations and careers.
- Sustainability – Regenerating Soil and Community:
- One requirement of this grant is that you are making, or intend to make, steps on your operation to preserve and potentially even improve the natural resources of the land you steward for future generations. Your ability to illustrate how you currently implement, or plan to implement, sustainable and regenerative farming practices and/or ethics will contribute to the strength of your application
- Financial Need:
Because a $5,000 grant with few restrictions on its use is such a unique opportunity to meet costs unmet by other funding options, we will prioritize applicants for whom this money will make a significant difference in their financial ability to meet their goals and for those requests for which other funding opportunities are difficult, or impossible to access.
While there are no regional quotas for this program, we will be looking for a geographically well-distributed cohort of 75 grant recipients.
Note on Language
Though we encourage you to take time and care in writing your application, we will not be evaluating applications by the quality of the prose, but by the content of the proposal. Take advantage of the narrative questions to paint a picture of your operation, your personal and professional goals, and the challenges you face in reaching them. Feel free to write in whatever style or language feels truest and most comfortable to you and to representing your voice in this application.
For applications submitted in Spanish, they will be reviewed first by our Spanish-speaking reviewers in the original language and then will be translated for a final round of review.
What can a Young Farmer Grant do?
Young Farmer Grants are designed to provide a flexible financial boost to young farmers building long-term careers in agriculture. This fund can be used for anything that will further your goals as a farmer, even if that means just getting started. The goal of this fund is to provide financial assistance for any cost that currently limits your ability to start, run, or grow your operation in the way you’d like.
Grant funding may support completing a project, purchasing a new piece of equipment, covering operating costs such as seeds and compost, building new infrastructure, attending a farmer training program or conference, hiring additional farm labor, or covering personal finances that stand in the way of farm success, including but not limited to childcare, housing, or student loan payments. Funds, once awarded, may be used to match other grant opportunities.
These grants are available to farmers of all races and gender identities. To ensure that our grants are contributing to ending inequity in access to agricultural careers, we commit to providing a minimum of 50% of our grants to Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, and 50% of grants to female-identifying, non-binary, and trans farmers. These are not mutually exclusive identity categories and should not be understood as adding up to 100% of available grants.
Thank you to Chipotle for providing vision and funding for this program.
And thank you to Soul Fire Farm Institute for advising on this program.