$12 million available for historically underserved farm-focused projects in Gulf of Mexico watershed

LENEXA, KAN. (DEC. 14, 2021) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the availability of $12 million in funding to support historically underserved farmers within the Gulf of Mexico watershed through the Farmer to Farmer grant program. Waters in EPA Region 7 are in this watershed.

Selected projects will work to increase collaboration among farming communities, while improving water quality, habitat, climate resilience, and environmental education through the demonstration of innovative practices on working lands.

EPA plans to award four cooperative agreements, with up to $3 million of funding each. It is expected that grant awards may be issued for up to a five-year project period beginning May 2022. Successful applicants will be responsible for administering a competitive subaward grant program to directly collaborate with underserved farmers on projects in the Gulf of Mexico watershed. The request for applications period will end on Feb. 4, 2022. EPA will hold an informational webinar about this funding on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022, at 2 p.m. CST. Register here.

“We encourage our state agencies, tribes, nonprofit organizations, and universities to attend the Jan. 6 webinar and apply for this new Farmer to Farmer funding opportunity,” said Deputy EPA Region 7 Administrator Edward H. Chu. “We hope to build on the successes that our regional partners have had using these cooperative agreements to improve water quality. This funding would go toward innovative local solutions to reduce excess nutrient pollution in our waters and the greater Gulf of Mexico watershed.”

 Supporting collaboration with underserved farmers underscores this administration’s commitment to equal opportunity and advancing equity for all while achieving environmental good. Farmers are on the front line of action in reducing nonpoint source pollution and are critical stakeholders along with their state governments, farm organizations, conservation groups, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, and community groups.

Under this grant program, proposals will carry out project activities using one or more of the following methods: surveys, studies, research, investigation, experimentation, education, training, and/or demonstrations. The proposed projects must include collaboration and sustainable and resilient agriculture operations. Additionally, the proposed projects must be focused on at least one of the following activities: water quality, habitat, or sustainable forest management.

Eligible applicants include state agencies, federally recognized tribes and tribal consortia, any agency or instrumentality of local governments, nonprofit organizations, interstate agencies, and colleges and universities including minority-serving institutions.

Background

The Farmer-to-Farmer grant funding is available to develop innovative practices within farming communities, measure the results of those practices, and identify how the practices will be incorporated into farming operations.

Historically, EPA has awarded $20 million to support projects to improve water quality, habitat, and environmental education through farmer-led or farm-focused organizations in the Gulf of Mexico watershed, including the upper and lower Mississippi River basins.

The Gulf of Mexico Division is a non-regulatory program of EPA founded to facilitate collaborative actions to protect, maintain, and restore the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico in ways consistent with the economic well-being of the region. To carry out its mission, the Gulf of Mexico Division continues to maintain and expand partnerships with state and federal agencies, federally recognized tribes, local governments and authorities, academia, regional business and industry, agricultural and environmental organizations, and individual citizens and communities.

View the funding opportunity on grants.gov.

View the opportunity on EPA’s Gulf of Mexico page.

For more information, visit: www.epa.gov/gulfofmexic

By Tucker Allmer - The BARN

Tucker Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.