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Funding Opportunities



June 2016



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Permalink Montana Farm to School Summit Scholarships

Montana Farm to School Summit: Sprouting Success will be held on September 22-23, 2016. Learn and share how Montana schools and programs are sprouting success through the core elements of farm to school--serving local foods, school gardens, and nutrition, agriculture, and food education. Scholarships to support costs of attending the conference are available due to a USDA Farm to School Training grant, and can cover registration, lodging, and travel.
Scholarship application deadline is June 30, 2016.

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Permalink Working Lands for Wildlife Partnership

USDA has announced the availability of $40 million through the Working Lands for Wildlife (WLFW) partnership, to help ranchers and other partners in 11 western states restore and protect sagebrush habitat for greater sage-grouse on privately-owned land. USDA has also announced more than $10 million available in 2016 to support six other WLFW initiatives for focus species across the country including the New England cottontail, southwestern willow flycatcher, golden-winged warbler, gopher tortoise, bog turtle, and lesser prairie-chicken. Funding for WLFW comes from two 2014 Farm Bill programs that accelerate conservation efforts to benefit wildlife populations by conserving entire landscapes, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and Agricultural Conservation Easement Program. The Conservation Stewardship Program provides additional opportunities for producers wanting to restore sagebrush and prairie habitat for sage grouse and prairie chicken. Interested landowners are encouraged to contact their local USDA service center.
Application periods differ by state.

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Permalink NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program Salmon Recovery Projects

USDA NRCS has announced a funding opportunity through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program to support implementation of innovative, outcome-oriented conservation projects that will lead to improvements in salmon habitat. Eligible agricultural producers and owners of non-industrial private forestland and Tribes are eligible to apply for salmon recovery funding. Eligible land includes cropland, rangeland, pastureland, non-industrial private forestland and other farm or ranch lands. Eligible projects require habitat enhancement activities that will directly improve instream and/or riparian habitat for anadromous fish stocks (migrating to the ocean) or bull trout.
The deadline for applications is June 30, 2016.

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Permalink Conservation Innovation Grants in New York

USDA NRCS announces the availability of $150,000 in Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) in New York. Proposals are requested from eligible government or non-governmental organizations or individuals. Projects should stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies in New York. Funding priorities are identified online.
Applications are due by July 1, 2016.

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Permalink Risk Management Education Partnerships Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) has announced that $4.3 million in funding is available for the Risk Management Education Partnerships Program, which provides money for the development of general nationwide crop insurance education as well as other risk management training programs for producers. A broad range of risk management training activities are eligible for funding consideration. Training can also focus on educating producers on the federal crop insurance program and options resulting from Farm Bill provisions. The agreements will also help train farmers at all levels on risk management options that help secure local food systems and strengthen rural communities. In particular, RMA seeks to fund projects that include innovative approaches in product delivery toward the priorities listed in the funding opportunity.
Applications are due by July 3, 2016.

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Permalink Crop Insurance in Targeted States Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) is making $4.4 million available for the Crop Insurance in Targeted States Program. The program backs development of crop insurance education programs where there is a low level of federal
crop insurance participation and availability. The targeted states are Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming. This program funds projects through which producers will receive assistance in understanding and using crop insurance programs and other tools so they can make the best risk management decisions for their agricultural operations. Past award recipients have included universities, county cooperative extension offices and nonprofit organizations.
Applications are due by July 3, 2016.

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Permalink Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Organic Certification Cost Share Programs

Two organic certification cost share programs are offered in 2016, which assist certified organic operations in defraying the costs associated with organic certification. Organic operations may receive up to 75% of their certification costs paid during October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016; not to exceed $750 per certification scope. The National Organic Certification Cost Share Program is available to producers and handlers in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, the American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the United States Virgin Islands. The program provides $10.7 million dollars of assistance in fiscal year 2016. The Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) Organic Certification Cost Share Program is available to certified organic producers in 16 states designated by Congress: Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming. The program provides $932,000 in assistance in fiscal year 2016.
Applications must be received by July 5, 2016.

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Permalink Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) announces the availability of approximately $62.6 million in grant funds to solely enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. State departments of agriculture, meaning agencies, commissions, or departments of a State government responsible for agriculture within the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, are eligible to apply. Organizations or individuals interested in the SCBGP should contact their state department of agriculture for more information.
Applications are due by July 6, 2016.

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Permalink Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture Grants Program

The Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture is now accepting pre-proposals as part of the Center's long-running competitive grants program. Investigators representing any Iowa nonprofit organization, agency, and/or educational institution with innovative ideas for research projects that impact water, soil, crops, and the land are encouraged to submit a pre-proposal. The competitive grants program is comprised of four initiatives: Ecology, Marketing and Foods Systems, Policy, and Cross-cutting. The focus areas for this year’s pre-proposals are soil health and associated biological processes, farming options for a more diverse landscape, how to increase adoption of conservation practices, and preliminary development of a collaborative group/issue team to research a critical sustainability topic, and food hubs/food processing and distribution business development.
The deadline for submitting a pre-proposal is July 7, 2016.

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Permalink Outreach and Education, Technical Assistance, and Financial Education for FSA Programs

USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) seeks proposals to further support and expand FSA's existing outreach and education efforts. The additional outreach and education could, for example, be public meetings, training sessions, and/or workshops for producers including new and beginning farmers, veterans, underserved communities, and/or established producers. Emphasis will be afforded to proposals that propose to address producers who are ethnic minorities, women, new and beginning, veterans, urban, or who grow non-commodity crops (e.g., fruits and vegetables or specialty crops). Proposals may include innovative outreach approaches that ease the learning curve for farmers and ranchers through training on best practices, common challenges and solutions, and local networking opportunities. The subject matter should include an introduction to FSA, its programs, and common provisions that generally apply. Public and State controlled institutions of higher education and nonprofits can apply for a total of $2.5 million, in cooperative agreements up to $99,999.
Applications are due by July 11, 2016.

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Permalink Conservation Innovation Grants in Arkansas

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Arkansas is accepting applications for Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies. NRCS anticipates that the amount available for support of this program in FY 2016 will be up to $250,000, with individual grants up to a maximum of $75,000. Proposals are requested from eligible governmental or nongovernmental organizations or individuals.
Applications are due July 11, 2016.

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Permalink Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Sustainable Bioenergy and Bioproducts (SBEBP) Challenge Area

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture requests applications for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Sustainable Bioenergy and Bioproducts (SBEBP) Challenge Area Program for fiscal year 2016. In the SBEBP Challenge Area, specific program areas are designed to achieve the long term outcome of reducing the national dependence on foreign oil through the development and production of regionally appropriate sustainable bioenergy systems that materially deliver advanced liquid transportation biofuels, biopower, and bioproducts. The anticipated amount available for grants in FY 2016 is approximately $21 million.
A letter of intent to apply is due July 14, 2016.

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Permalink Michigan Wildlife Habitat Grant Program

The Wildlife Habitat Grant Program provides funding to local, state, federal, and tribal units of government, profit or non-profit groups, and individuals to assist the Wildlife Division with developing or improving wildlife habitat for game species. The required partner cost share for approved projects is 10% of the total project.
Proposal applications are due by July 20, 2016.

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Permalink New Hampshire ACEP-WRE Restoration Implementation Assistance

The Natural Resources Conservation Service in New Hampshire is requesting applications to provide implementation of restoration activities on land enrolled in the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program Wetlands Reserve Easement (ACEP-WRE). The objective of ACEP-WRE is to provide technical and financial assistance to landowners in planning, designing and implementing wetland and associated upland restoration plans that maximize wildlife habitat in wetland systems, as well as provide water quality improvements, reduced soil erosion, reduced impacts of flooding and provide wildlife habitat opportunities for threatened and endangered species. Cooperative agreements up to a total of $236,667 are available.
Applications are due by July 25, 2016.

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Permalink Agriculture and Food Research Initiative--Water for Agriculture Challenge Area

This Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Challenge Area addresses critical water resources issues such as drought, excess soil moisture, flooding, quality, and others in an agricultural context. Funding will be used to develop management practices, technologies, and tools for farmers, ranchers, forest owners and managers, public decision makers, public and private managers, and citizens to improve water resource quantity and quality. Priority funding areas are identified online. The anticipated amount available for grants in FY 2016 is approximately $10.7 million.
Application deadline is August 4, 2016.

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Permalink Socially-Disadvantaged Groups Grant

USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service announces the availability of $3 million in competitive grant funds for the FY 2016 Socially-Disadvantaged Groups Grant (SDGG) program, formerly known as the Small Socially-Disadvantaged Producer Grant program. Proposals are sought from applicants who will provide technical assistance to socially-disadvantaged groups in rural areas. Applications that direct grants to projects based in or serving census tracts with poverty rates greater than or equal to 20% are encouraged. Eligible applicants include Cooperatives, Groups of Cooperatives, and Cooperative Development Centers.
Application deadline is August 1, 2016, for electronic submissions; August 5, 2016, for submissions by mail.

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Permalink Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grant

USDA is seeking applications for grants to provide assistance to socially disadvantaged business groups in rural areas through the Socially Disadvantaged Groups Grant (SDGG) program. USDA provides grants to local cooperatives and other organizations that provide technical assistance to socially disadvantaged groups in rural areas. Recipients eligible for these grants include groups of cooperatives, individual cooperatives and cooperative development centers that serve socially-disadvantaged groups. USDA is making $3 million in grants available. The maximum award a recipient may receive is $175,000. Applications must be submitted by August 5, 2016, or electronically by August 1, 2016.

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Permalink Rural Energy Savings Program

USDA's Rural Energy Savings Program will provide loans to rural energy providers who in turn fund projects for consumers to make energy efficiency improvements in their homes or businesses that will lower their energy use. Eligible applicants include current and former Rural Utilities Service (RUS) borrowers, subsidiaries of current or former RUS borrowers, and entities that provide retail electric service in rural areas. RESP borrowers finance loans at zero percent interest for up to 20 years, and energy customers then repay the loans at an interest rate of up to 3% for up to 10 years through their electric bills.
A letter of intent is due by August 5, 2016.

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Permalink California State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program

The California Department of Food and Agriculture is accepting applications for the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP). An estimated $18 million will be available for competitive grant funding to provide financial assistance to implement irrigation systems that reduce greenhouse gases and save water at California agricultural operations. Agricultural operations can apply for funding of up to $200,000 per project for irrigation projects that provide quantifiable water savings and greenhouse gas reductions.
Applications must be submitted by August 5, 2016.

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Permalink Kansas Water Quality Improvement through the Implementation of Forestry Practices

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is now accepting applications for Kansas Forest Service's "Water Quality Improvement through the Implementation of Forestry Practices" initiative. A five-year partnership agreement between NRCS and the Kansas Forest Service provides free technical assistance, in addition to $8.1 million in financial assistance, to landowners who implement conservation practices, such as planting trees to control erosion and improve water quality. With additional financial assistance from Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy groups, a landowner would only need to cover 10% of the total conservation project cost. Assistance is available for landowners in targeted watersheds.
Applications will be taken until funding is exhausted, and the project will be funded on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Permalink Organic Crop Improvement Association Research & Education Micro Grants

The Organic Crop Improvement Association Research & Education (OCIA R&E) is calling for micro grant proposals pertaining to organic research and/or education. Micro grant awards range up to $1,500. Projects must pertain to organic research and/or education and be of benefit to OCIA certified members.
Proposals are reviewed each March 15 and November 15, but may be submitted year round.

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Permalink Walker River Agricultural Economic Diversification Project Competitive Grant

In collaboration with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Western Nevada College Specialty Crop Institute is working with local farmers and ranchers to reduce and make efficient use of water in the Walker, Truckee, and Carson Basin valleys while supporting local agriculture through partnerships, demonstration projects, and community involvement. This project works on a regional level to develop water-efficient, signature Nevada crops; provide training and support to producers; develop reliable wholesale and retail markets and distribution networks; and to promote and increase awareness of Nevada agriculture and its economic and health benefits. To help achieve these goals in the Walker River basin, a competitive grant process will award $1,000 - $7,500 for producer projects that enhance the goals of the main project.
Applications are accepted throughout the year. Awards will be made quarterly.

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Permalink New Jersey Audubon Small Grants for Natural Resource Conservation on Farms

New Jersey Audubon has created a small grants program focusing on soil and water conservation within four areas in southern New Jersey. Farmers and producers of the Greater Hammonton area, Maurice and Upper Cohansey Rivers, Upper Salem River area, and the western Cape May Peninsula are eligible to receive funding for projects addressing resource concerns on their property, such as irrigation system updates, riparian buffers, grassed waterways, cover crops, and more. Funding is available through 2017, and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis to qualified applicants.

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