Agricultural Workforce Development Program

Young woman touching pear on pear tree, two young men working on a fence on ranch, young man repairing a vehicle with vehicle's hood lifted, young girl squatting down and feeding piglets food from her hands

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

The New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) Agricultural Workforce Development Program grant application period will open January 4, 2022 and continue until funds are fully allocated or by April 1, 2022, whichever comes first.

NMDA’s Agricultural Workforce Development Program (AWD) 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, 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 $7,500 per internship. An agricultural business may request funding to hire as many as three interns per 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.

For internships that will occur in the remainder of FY 2021 (between July 1, 2021 and June 15, 2022), the period for agricultural businesses to apply is from January 4, 2022 to April 1, 2022, or until funds are fully allocated. NMDA will award funding to agricultural businesses based on: a) their compliance with program requirements; b) funding availability; c) first-come, first-serve basis.   

Agricultural business operators, please read the Agriculture 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 application form located at:

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 agriculture 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.