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
WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 5, 2022) – The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced nearly $2.9 million in new grants to help agricultural producers implement voluntary conservation practices on farms and ranches across 20 states. Awarded under NFWF’s Conservation Partners Program, the grants will leverage $3 million in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of nearly $5.9 million.
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.
About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate, foundation and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 6,000 organizations and generated a total conservation impact of $7.4 billion. Learn more at www.nfwf.org.
About the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that provides one-on-one, personalized advice on the best solutions to meet the unique conservation and business goals of those who grow our nation’s food and fiber. NRCS helps landowners make investments in their operations and local communities to keep working lands working, boost rural economies, increase the competitiveness of American agriculture, and improve the health of our air, water, and soil. NRCS also generates, manages, and shares the data, research and standards that enable partners and policymakers to make decisions informed by objective, reliable science. In simpler terms, NRCS’s focus is “Helping People Help the Land.” For more information, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov.
Cargill’s 155,000 employees across 70 countries work relentlessly to achieve our purpose of nourishing the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way. Every day, we connect farmers with markets, customers with ingredients, and people and animals with the food they need to thrive. We combine 156 years of experience with new technologies and insights to serve as a trusted partner for food, agriculture, financial and industrial customers in more than 125 countries. Side-by-side, we are building a stronger, sustainable future for agriculture. For more information, visit Cargill.com and our News Center.
About Farmers for Soil Health
Farmers for Soil Health is a collaboration in partnership with the Soy Checkoff, Pork Checkoff and National Corn Growers Association to create a farmer-led cover crop program that advances the use of soil health practices, meets sustainability goals and improves farmer profitability. Our goal is to improve soil health by encouraging farmers to expand their adoption of cover crops to 30 million acres by 2030.
About General Mills
General Mills makes food the world loves. The company is guided by its Accelerate strategy to drive shareholder value by boldly building its brands, relentlessly innovating, unleashing its scale and being a force for good. Its portfolio of beloved brands includes household names such as Cheerios, Nature Valley, Blue Buffalo, Häagen-Dazs, Old El Paso, Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Yoplait, Annie’s, Wanchai Ferry, Yoki and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, General Mills generated fiscal 2022 net sales of U.S. $19.0 billion. In addition, the company’s share of non-consolidated joint venture net sales totaled U.S. $1.1 billion.
About The J.M. Smucker Co.
Each generation of consumers leaves their mark on culture by establishing new expectations for food and the companies that make it. At The J.M. Smucker Co., it is our privilege to be at the heart of this dynamic with a diverse portfolio that appeals to each generation of people and pets and is found in nearly 90 percent of U.S. homes and countless restaurants. This includes a mix of iconic brands consumers have always loved such as Folgers®, Jif® and Milk-Bone® and new favorites like Café Bustelo®, Smucker's® Uncrustables® and Rachael Ray® Nutrish®. By continuing to immerse ourselves in consumer preferences and acting responsibly, we will continue growing our business and the positive impact we have on society. For more information, please visit www.jmsmucker.com.
The J.M. Smucker Co. is the owner of all trademarks referenced herein except for Rachael Ray®, a registered trademark of Ray Marks II LLC, which is used under license.
Rob Blumenthal, 202-857-0166, firstname.lastname@example.org