Farmers for Soil Health
In partnership with the Farmers for Soil Health collaboration and with pending support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Partnerships for Climate Smart Commodities, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) anticipates awarding competitive grants to accelerate the voluntary adoption of cover crops on corn and soybean farms in 20 states.
Farmers for Soil Health is a collaboration of National Corn Growers Association, the United Soybean Board, the National Pork Board, and other partners, with a goal of encouraging farmers to expand their adoption of cover crops to 30 million acres nationwide by 2030.
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is releasing a Request for Proposals in anticipation of an agreement with USDA for our tentatively selected proposal, “Farmers for Soil Health Climate Smart Commodities Partnership.” The Farmers for Soil Health Climate Smart Commodities agreement with USDA is still pending. This RFP represents one time-sensitive element of a broader project. Any grants related to this RFP will not be awarded unless or until a USDA agreement is finalized. Additional grantee terms, conditions, or requirements beyond what is included in this RFP may apply after finalization of a USDA agreement.
As of the 2017 USDA Census, cover crops represented 15.4 million acres. Although corn and soybeans represent more than half of all U.S. row crop acres, at about 180 million acres, according to USDA’s Ag Resource Management Survey, only about 5 percent of corn and 8 percent of soybean acres utilize cover crops.
Cover crops are grown between harvested crops to protect soil from erosion, store nutrients, increase water infiltration, and improve soil structure. The conservation impact of cover cropping systems is significant—increased carbon sequestration, improved water quality, and even habitat benefits for pollinators or other wildlife.
Farmers for Soil Health will accelerate long-term cover crop adoption by creating a platform to incentivize farmers through a marketplace that efficiently quantifies, verifies, and facilitates the sale of ecosystem benefits. FSH will create a new transition program that will build cover crop capacity nationwide.
Through this funding opportunity, FSH will support and expand technical assistance, enrollment, and education programs in its targeted states. This funding opportunity is limited to the 20 states targeted in the Farmers for Soil Health Partnership: Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.