FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Kristie Garcia
Public Information Officer, New Mexico Department of Agriculture
Oct. 31, 2019
Agricultural Workforce Development funding available
Pilot program aims to provide hands-on educational opportunities
LAS CRUCES – The New Mexico Department of Agriculture is launching the Agricultural Workforce Development Pilot Program to offer incentives to agricultural businesses to hire interns. The program is the result of the Agricultural Workforce Development Program Act passed and signed into law in April 2019.
The pilot program is intended to provide hands-on educational opportunities for students aspiring to start careers in agriculture, as well as young or beginning farmers and ranchers.
Agriculture Secretary Jeff Witte said the desire to close a gap was at the heart of the Agricultural Workforce Development effort during the legislative session.
“New Mexico has a large population of aging farmers and ranchers, but we also have a large population of people who aspire to work in the ag industry,” said Witte. “Yet, at times it’s challenging to connect these two groups. This pilot program was created to bridge the gap between these groups that are both vital to our ag industry.”
The pilot program does not match businesses and interns, but it defrays the cost of agricultural businesses hiring interns that have already been identified. The program aims to incentivize the transfer of knowledge and skills from one generation to the next.
Agricultural business operators and potential interns should visit www.nmda.nmsu.edu/awd-applications/ for more information or to submit an application. The program launches Oct. 31, and applications will be accepted until funds are expended.