Up to $12 million will be invested in the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI) from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will be accepting proposals for the program until September 22. USDA has noted its intention to renew the program to expand overall grazing conservation through improving partner capacity and expertise. Cooperative Agreements through the GLCI will help to bolster partnerships and outreach with historically underserved communities and expand conservation assistance for livestock producers.
“Privately owned grazing lands cover nearly 30 percent of the national landscape, which means we have a tremendous opportunity to address climate change and conserve natural resources through voluntary, private lands conservation,” NRCS Chief Terry Cosby said in a press release. “NRCS enlists a wide variety of conservation practices to help livestock producers. These partnerships will also help us expand the footprint of conservation on grazing lands and could help better reach historically underserved producers.”
Eligibility for the GLCI includes non-profits, farmer and rancher organizations, state, local, and tribal governments, certain land grant universities, and Agricultural Extension Services. Grazing land conservation projects include those that address local natural resource concerns and use climate-smart practices and principles. Projects will also be developed to help identify and implement strategies for quantifying, monitoring, and verifying the effectiveness of grazing management systems. Through GLCI, NRCS expects to support new peer-to-peer networks and increase the availability of technical assistance for grazers.
“The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is pleased to see this investment in sustainable grazing, as we have long advocated for increased funding for this important program,” said Jesse Womack, NSAC Conservation Policy Specialist. “We look forward to seeing on the ground successes from this program and will continue to advocate for additional funding to build upon those successes.”