NFWF Announces $10.2 Million In Grants To Cultivate Conservation Practices On Agricultural Lands

Seventeen projects will help farmers, ranchers adopt economically beneficial practices that sequester carbon and improve soil health, water quality an

Published online: Jun 13, 2024 Articles
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Washington, D.C. -- The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced $10.2 million in new grants to help agricultural producers implement voluntary conservation practices on farms and ranches across 14 states. The grants will leverage more than $4.9 million in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of $15.1 million.

The grants were awarded through the Conservation Partners Program, a partnership between NFWF, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Cargill, The J.M. Smucker Co., Nestlé, and additional support from a collaboration among General Mills, Walmart and Sam’s Club.

“These awards will advance technical assistance and foster collaboration with agricultural producers critical to iconic landscapes across 14 states,” said Jeff Trandahl, CEO and executive director of NFWF. “Our private-public partnership is proud to support the community partners building resources and relationships, not only to sustain agricultural operations but to conserve the nation’s natural resources and wildlife for future generations.”

The program awards competitive grants to accelerate the adoption of voluntary conservation practices and regenerative agriculture principles on private working lands and to support enrollment in Farm Bill conservation programs.

“We are pleased to partner with NFWF and the Conservation Partners Program on these strategic investments to increase the voluntary adoption of climate-smart agriculture practices on working lands,” said NRCS Chief Terry Cosby. “These efforts will strengthen the delivery of technical assistance to American farmers and ranchers to build soil health, sequester carbon, and improve water quality to sustain economic opportunities for their communities.”

“The projects funded through the Conservation Partners Program align with our goals,” said Will Meeks, Midwest regional director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Funding and support for technical assistance is an urgent need. This work will help us improve water quality and wildlife habitat throughout the Midwest and the Great Lakes basin. We are proud to continue our work with NFWF and the program to carry out our mission.”

Funded projects will address resource concerns in the Great Lakes Basin, Prairie Pothole Region, Southern Great Plains and Upper Mississippi River Basin by providing technical assistance to implement a range of conservation practices such as cover crops, conservation tillage, on-farm wetland enhancement, irrigation improvement, grazing management and prescribed burning. The projects will improve management and conservation on more than a cumulative 330,000 acres of farmland and ranchland across the United States.

“EPA is pleased to support conservation in the agricultural community through this important program with funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Our shared goal of expanding regenerative agriculture will protect water quality in watersheds throughout the Great Lakes,” said Teresa Seidel, director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes National Program Office.

“We are proud to partner with NFWF and to support its continued work to accelerate the adoption of conservation practices that benefit agricultural lands while enhancing economic opportunities for farmers,” said Rebecca Ott, director, corporate sustainability, The J.M. Smucker Co. “In addition to the work done within our own four walls to support a healthier planet for future generations, we also actively promote the adoption of sustainable agricultural practices in our priority ingredient supply chains. Through our work with partners like NFWF, we are focused on reducing climate impacts, supporting worker safety, improving soil health, reducing pesticide use and increasing farm resiliency.”

Since 2011, the Conservation Partners Program has awarded 301 grants worth more than $71 million and leveraged an additional $101 million in matching contributions, generating a total conservation investment of more than $172 million. A complete list of the grants announced today is available here. The next request for proposals for this program opened the week of June 10, 2024, and is available here.

For more information, visit nfwf.org.