Picture of Little Traverse Bay Bands farmer Vivin LaCroix, son of Ben LaCroix, who owned and operated a dairy business circa 1910
Farming, Agriculture, Ranching in Michigan Program (F.A.R.M.) was developed by NSCD in 2008, at which time NSCD conducted surveys of Michigan Native Farmers and Ranchers to determine access for capital to help sustain our Native community.
In the latest Census, there are over 350 Michigan Native Farmers and Ranchers. Michigan ranks in the top ten states with the largest number of Native farmers and ranchers. Indeed, Michigan has a history of Native farmers and ranchers who raise staple crops such as squash, corn, sweet grass, maple syrup and beans. Ranchers raise cattle for milk and meat to be sold or traded for other goods. Although “fishing” is not considered “agriculture” in the truest sense, aquaculture is and still continues to be a source of income for Native Farmers and Ranchers.
Today Michigan Native Farmers and Ranchers raise a variety of crops because the Great Lakes region has a good temperate climate. Crops such as cherries, apples, pear, peaches plums, asparagus and potatoes have and continue to be grown successfully for quite some time. Harvesting Black Ash and Birch trees for the making of baskets are also considered agriculture by our Native peoples.
In a recent publication by the First Nations Development Institute they state that there are not enough grants out there for Native American Agriculture and Food System Projects. NSCD has seen this first hand. “…..First Nations notes it was only able to fund 7.18% ($1.73 million) of the $24.1 million requested in a total of 614 grant applications received between 2011 and 2014, leaving an unmet need of more than $22.3 million.”
Since 2010, NSCD has lent out $63,431.56 to Native Michigan Farmers and Ranchers. It is our hope to be able to assist many more in the future. By offering a low interest rate, we are able to keep payments low. Interested individuals should complete a FARM loan application, and submit letter of intent for funds. Further information may be required upon review of application.
We also provide technical assistance to our applicants such as:
- Web-based Marketing
- Business Plan Development
- Credit Counseling
- Accounting Principles
- Business Structuring
- Business Tax Preparation
- Business Software Education
We have have had the great opportunity to partner with students from MSU’s Business Program. Each year, NSCD picks a couple of clients to work with Interns from MSU to help grow their business. MSU students have helped with marketing plans, Website Design, Accounting and more.
If you are interested in speaking to a representative from NSCD, please call (231)347-6753 for appointment.