NFWF’s Conservation Partners Program Announces $2.9 Million in New Grants
Twelve projects will help farmers and ranchers adopt economically beneficial practices that sequester carbon and improve soil health, water quality, and wildlife habitat.
NFWF manages the Conservation Partners Program in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), as well as Cargill, General Mills, and The J.M. Smucker Co. The program supports efforts to accelerate the adoption of conservation practices and regenerative agriculture principles on private working lands.
Grant recipients provide technical assistance to farmers and ranchers to help them develop management plans, design and implement best practices, participate in Farm Bill programs, and share their experiences and lessons learned. This work enhances wildlife habitat, soil health, water quality, and carbon storage while providing important social and economic benefits to agricultural producers.
“The grants announced today not only help conserve our nation’s rich soil, water, and wildlife resources, they also strengthen agricultural operations and communities and help farmers improve farming practices in 20 states,” said Jeff Trandahl, executive director and CEO of NFWF. “Robust public-private partnerships like this one are vital to unlocking voluntary conservation at scale and ensuring American farms remain global leaders.”
The 12 grants announced today span several landscapes across the United States. Funded projects will address important needs for the Prairie Pothole Region, the Southern Great Plains, and Upper Mississippi River Basin. Additionally, five grants will offer farmers technical assistance for cover crops across the 20 target states of the Farmers for Soil Health partnership.
“We are pleased to be a partner in NFWF’s Conservation Partners Program to help accelerate the adoption of critical conservation and climate-smart agriculture practices on working lands,” said NRCS Chief Terry Cosby. “These investments not only provide producers with the technical assistance they need but also increase their resiliency to severe weather, improve agricultural lands for wildlife habitat, build soil health, sequester carbon, and improve water quality—all while creating economic opportunities for local communities.”
“Five of the awards announced today will distribute nearly $900,000 to fund education and technical assistance promoting the adoption of cover crops in corn and soybean production,” said John A. Johnson, Coordinator of Farmers for Soil Health. “These dollars will be spent to assist farmers desiring to build soil health on their farms.”
The new grant funding will help provide agricultural producers with the technical assistance needed to plan and implement a range of conservation practices such as cover crops, conservation tillage, on-farm wetland enhancement, and grazing management. Collectively, the 12 funded projects will:
- Improve management and conservation on more than 295,000 acres of farmland and ranchland
- Offer technical assistance to over 170,000 landowners or operators
- Reduce nutrient and sediment runoff to local waterways by more than 800,000 pounds per year
- Develop and implement more than 700 working lands management plans
“Collaboration is critical to solve today’s agricultural challenges and have the greatest impact,” said Mary Jane Melendez, chief sustainability and global impact officer, General Mills. “Our partnership enables us to collaborate with NFWF and other companies in key regions of shared interest. Regions like the Southern Great Plains are significant for fish and wildlife and are priority places where we source our ingredients. Together, we can have a collective impact by co-investing in local organizations who are critical to the scaling of regenerative agriculture. These grants provide more farmers and ranchers the assistance needed to successfully transition to regenerative systems that deliver both economic and environmental benefits.”
“Our relationship with NFWF helps us deliver on our commitment to maintain a resilient supply chain and support a healthier planet,” said Rebecca Ott, Director, Sustainability at The J.M. Smucker Co. “Through our current initiative, we are collaborating with NFWF to assist farmers in implementing good agricultural and conservation practices benefitting both soil health and native pollinators. In addition to these important impacts, this work also supports our climate action goals.”
Since 2011, the Conservation Partners Program has awarded 262 grants worth more than $54 million and leveraged an additional $98 million in matching contributions, generating a total conservation investment of more than $152 million. A complete list of the 2022 grants made through the Conservation Partners Program is available here.