USDA-NRCS Montana Offers Funding for Conservation Gardens, High Tunnels

Bozeman, Mont., July 11, 2018–The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting applications for grants to establish community gardens, pollinator gardens and seasonal high tunnels through the Montana NRCS Conservation Garden Project.

Proposals will be accepted from eligible entities for projects located in Montana, including city or township governments, county governments, special districts, state governments, nonprofit organizations, independent school districts, institutions of higher education, and Federally recognized Native American tribal governments.

The NRCS has funding available for the Montana NRCS Conservation Garden Project as follows:

  • Grants up to $4,000 will be available for a community garden. Funds are to be used for garden supplies which can include tools, seed, fertilizer, soil and soil additives, irrigation materials and garden materials. Technical assistance by NRCS staff will be available to help determine site, slope, placement, etc.
  • Grants up to $3,000 will be available for pollinator gardens. NRCS will provide technical assistance based on pollinator specifications.
  • Grants up to $6,500 will be available for construction of a seasonal high tunnel. NRCS specifications for the construction of a Seasonal High Tunnel will be followed.
  • Grant applicants may request funding for a combination of the choices above:  community garden, pollinator garden and seasonal high tunnel.

Applications for the Montana NRCS Conservation Garden Project are due by Aug. 10, 2018. The Notice of Funding Opportunity is available at www.grants.gov. The Opportunity number is USDA-NRCS-MT-18-01, and the title is Montana Conservation Garden Project. Applicants must have a DUNS number and an active registration in SAM. Questions can be directed to Lori Valadez, (406) 587-6969.

USDA Announces $8.4 Million to Support Veterans and Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Office of Partnerships & Public Engagement (OPPE) today announced up to $8.4 million in available funding for training and technical assistance for socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers. Funding is made through the USDA’s Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (also known as the 2501 Program).

“The USDA is committed to reaching all farmers and ranchers,” said OPPE Director Diane Cullo. “Through the 2501 program, the USDA is building lasting relationships among these farmers and ranchers, the local organizations that serve them, and the USDA’s local, state, regional, and national offices.”

The 2501 Program was originally authorized by the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990. 2501 grants seek to enhance the equitable participation of socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers in USDA resources and programs, such as Farm Service Agency loans or grants through the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP). Projects may focus on conferences, training sessions, educational materials, or new programs to help these farmers and ranchers thrive and succeed.

Eligible applicants include community-based organizations, networks, or coalitions of community-based organizations; 1890 or 1994 institutions of higher education; American Indian tribal community colleges or Alaska Native cooperative colleges; Hispanic-serving institutions of higher education; other higher education institutions; Indian Tribes or national tribal organizations. Eligible entities must have experience in providing agricultural education or other agricultural-related services for socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers.

The deadline for applications is May 15, 2018. See the request for applications for full details. Learn more about this funding opportunity through two teleconferences on March 28, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. EST and April 25, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. EST. To join each session, call 1-888-455-1685 and use passcode 7087935.

Examples of FY 2017 funded 2501 projects include a grant to the National Hmong American Farmers, Inc., to provide technical and direct assistance to Hmong farmers in central California who face barriers to successful farming due to poverty and cultural and linguistic isolation. A Florida State University project reached veterans with workshops, online agricultural courses, and 15 farm apprenticeships and managerial apprenticeships at private farms.

Montana Grazing Lands Education and Demonstration Project Funding Available

The Montana Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI) is accepting applications for mini-grants and demonstration projects.

The mini-grants will provide funding for educational events throughout the year and support partners and organizations with an interest in the conservation, education, and awareness of grazing lands and natural resources in Montana.

Limit mini-grant funding requests to a minimum of $50 and a maximum of $1,000. There is no application deadline. Submissions will be considered year-round by the Montana GLCI steering committee.

“The GLCI mini-grants and demonstration projects help organizations to both test and implement advanced resource solutions, as well as educate Montanans young and old about those advancements and the value of our grazing lands,” said Kirt Walstad, Montana GLCI co-coordinator.

Demonstration project applications are due February 16, 2018. The current focus is on innovative projects addressing grazing management, soil and rangeland health, concentrated animal feeding operations/animal feeding operations, or noxious weeds on private Montana grazing lands.

Applications will be accepted from groups of individuals, non-governmental organizations, and state or local units of government. The Montana GLCI steering committee places special emphasis on cooperative efforts working with partners. Individual projects will be considered only if the project provides broad-scale, community-wide impacts and education.

Projects must be initiated in 2018. Funding will be allocated on an annual basis, which is dependent upon the yearly Montana GLCI budget allocation. Application submission does not guarantee project funding will be available. All applicants must show a one-to-one match for project cost.

Get more information about both the mini-grant and demonstration project funding opportunities, including application requirements and forms, at www.mtglci.org.

USDA Seeks Applications for $10 Million in Conservation Innovation Grants

Funding is available in three focus areas, including grazing lands, organic systems and soil health

BOZEMAN, Mont., Dec. 18, 2017 – USDA is offering grants for innovative ideas for conservation strategies and technologies. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS ) plans to invest $10 million in the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program, funding innovative conservation projects in three focus areas: grazing lands, organic systems and soil health. Grant proposals are due Feb. 26, 2018.

“Conservation Innovation Grants play a critical role in developing and implementing new methods to help our customers across the country and here in Montana conserve natural resources, strengthen their local communities, and improve their bottom lines,” said Tom Hedt, NRCS state conservationist in Montana. “Today’s announcement supports our efforts to help producers build economically-strong and resilient farms and ranches by providing producers tools to utilize across their working farmlands.”

The NRCS uses CIG to work with partners to accelerate transfer and adoption of promising technologies and approaches that address some of the nation’s most pressing natural resource concerns. This year, NRCS is focusing funding in these areas:

  • Grazing Lands: Helping livestock producers make grazing management decisions, encouraging prescribed burning as a grazing management practice, and improving access to conservation planning tools used for developing grazing management plans.
  • Organic Agriculture Systems: Helping organic producers develop innovative cropping and tillage systems, edge-of-field monitoring, crop rotations, and intercropping systems.
  • Soil Health: Supporting both cropping and grazing systems, in a variety of climatic zones, that incorporate soil health management systems for addressing specific resource concerns like nutrients and availability. Evaluating multiple soil health assessment methods to assist in the development of new soil health indicators and thresholds.

 “Every sector of American agriculture has its unique conservation challenges,” said Hedt. “CIG enables USDA to help support new, innovative tools and techniques which have helped U.S. agriculture become the powerhouse we see today, leading the world in both production efficiency and conservation delivery. We encourage groups and individuals in Montana to take advantage of this grant opportunity.”

Potential applicants should review the announcement of program funding available at www.grants.gov, which includes application materials and submission procedures. All U.S.-based entities and individuals are invited to apply, with the sole exception of Federal agencies. Up to 20 percent of CIG funds will be set aside for proposals from historically underserved producers, veteran farmers or ranchers or groups serving these customers.

NRCS is hosting a webinar for potential CIG applicants on Jan. 11, 2018, at 4 p.m. Eastern. Information on how to join the webinar can be found on the NRCS CIG webpage.

CIG is authorized and funded under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Projects can last up to three years. The maximum award amount for any project this year is $2 million.

Since 2004, NRCS has invested nearly $286.7 million in more than 700 projects focused on providing farmers and ranchers new techniques, data and decision-making tools for improving natural resources conservation on their land.

Source: NRCS

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Montana Stockgrowers Foundation on Social Media

Montana Stockgrowers Foundation LogoHelp Tell the Story of Montana Family Ranching

If you have been browsing Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest lately, you may have seen our newly launched Foundation social media accounts. MSGA’s Research, Education and Endowment Foundation is vital to helping our ranch community thrive…through scholarship opportunities, grants, avenues of public outreach and much more.

Members of MSGA can appreciate the philanthropy of REEF, but we don’t want to stop there. This is why we have created a social media platform for all the Foundation’s work. Having these outreach tools like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest allows for us to have a much broader reach, connect with other foundations and nonprofits and explore even more ways we can help Montana and the world.

Like the development of the MSGA social media platform, REEF will build its network and create innovate ways to promote Montana ranchers. Even though we are one state association, the products we produce ultimately go beyond our borders and feed the world. REEF is here to help make sure this continues to happen. By using public relations strategies, we can bring in more people, organizations and foundations to help with educational programs and philanthropic endeavors.

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 11.18.26 AMWe can’t do it alone!

If you have any ideas or information to share, please contact Lauren Chase: Lauren.chase4@gmail.com. If you are interested in donating to REEF, please visit: www.mtbeef.org. Together we can help educate the future of Montana ranchers, help keep our legacy growing strong and help the feed world.

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***Help spread the word! Share these sites with all of your family friends!