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Agricultural Workforce Development Program

4 images left to right: a woman wearing a baseball hat picking fruit, 2 men building a fence, a man working on a vehicle, a woman kneeling with piglets.

Welcome to the official website of NMDA’s Agricultural Workforce Development Program

The New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) Agricultural Workforce Development (AWD) Program FY24 grant application period is closed. All funds have been fully allocated. Please check back in June for the FY25 grant application period.


NMDA’s AWD Program offers incentives to the state’s agricultural businesses to hire interns. The AWD Program is intended to provide hands-on educational opportunities for students aspiring to careers in agriculture, as well as young or beginning farmers and ranchers.

The AWD Program is the result of the Agricultural Workforce Development Program Act, which was signed into law in 2019. 

An “agricultural business” means a business of a food or agricultural nature, including agricultural production or processing. Primary areas of focus for these internships include: agribusiness; agronomy; crop production; farm and ranch management; food safety; fruit and vegetable production; maintenance and repair of machinery and equipment; marketing and sales; and natural resources and conservation.

NMDA will reimburse qualified agricultural businesses up to 50 percent of the actual cost of hiring a qualified intern, not to exceed $15,000 per internship. An agricultural business may request funding to hire as many as three interns per calendar year. Each intern must be provided with at least one hundred thirty (130) hours of work experience, not exceeding one (1) year in duration per intern.

Agricultural business operators, please read the Agricultural Workforce Development FAQs carefully before submitting an AWD application.

Please note:

  • NMDA will not match agricultural businesses with potential interns.
  • Agricultural businesses must identify an intern prior to applying for funding.
  • Interns must be 18 years or older by the start of the internship.
  • Immediate family members of the agricultural business are NOT eligible to participate.
  • Participating agricultural businesses must pay minimum wage (or higher) to each intern, as well as carry workers’ compensation insurance for each intern.