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USDA Grant Supports Native Agriculture In Arizona

First Nations Development Institute announced a new two year federal grant in Arizona, dedicated to funding beginning farmers and ranchers.

First Nations is partnering with Native-led livestock associations in the San Carlos Apache, Fort Apache and Navajo reservation communities. The approximate $300,000 grant from the USDA is geared toward training.

Tiffany Hammer is with First Nations Development Institute. She said federal grants are critical.

“They have a significant implication for eliminating native food insecurity, which is always an issue," Hammer said. "And building the health of communities and native communities. And then most critically, it’s a mechanism for entrepreneurship and economic development on the reservation."

Hammer said poverty in these groups is disproportionate to the rest of the country.

Approximately 16 percent of U.S. households live below the poverty level. For these three native communities, the rate is above 40 percent.

Heather van Blokland was a host at KJZZ from 2016 to 2021.