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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 grant application period will open June 19, 2023 and continue until funds are fully allocated or by March 29, 2024, whichever comes first. Internships can begin after July 1, 2023 and must be completed by May 31, 2024.

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.

  1. The period for agricultural businesses to apply is from June 19, 2023 to March 29, 2024 or until funds are fully allocated. NMDA will award funding to agricultural businesses based on: a)their compliance with program requirements; and b) funding availability.

  2. Internships must occur between July 1, 2023 and May 31, 2024.  

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

To avoid submitting an incomplete application, agricultural business operators should follow these steps:

  1. Find an intern(s) interested in the internship opportunity with your agriculture business. It is preferred that interns are New Mexico residents, but it is not a requirement.

  2. Complete and submit the AWD grant 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.