The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is inviting organizations to submit cooperative agreement proposals. Funding for successful agreements will range between $25,000 and $75,000 per award. As much as $1 million is potentially being made available through the program, however proposals are being sought prior to final appropriations being established. Proposals that center on addressing climate smart agriculture in key areas will be prioritized. The target resource concerns include plant productivity and forest health, air quality, water quality and quantity, soil health and quality, and wildlife habitat.
“These proposals are to put boots on the ground,” NRCS State Conservationist Carlos Suarez told AgNet West. “That can be to install conservation practices, doing outreach to bring in more farmers and ranchers and forest stewards into our conservation programs, and implementation of conservation practices through the array of Farm Bill programs that we have in the state.”
Cooperative agreement proposals are encouraged from outreach and conservation organizations that can further support NRCS efforts. Emphasis will be given to project proposals that will provide direct technical assistance to NRCS staff to further implement Farm Bill conservation programs. Suarez said they have worked closely with state and local agencies, and resource conservation districts in the past. “But also, other entities like the Department of Conservation, Department of Food and Ag, and many environmental and non-government organizations that have the capability, the staff, and expertise, to assist us in implementing conservation practices, or implementing conservation outreach in our state,” Suarez explained.
Proposals will need to be submitted by 8:59 p.m. Pacific Time on June 1. The availability or level of funding available through the cooperative agreement program is subject to change in the event of additional continuing resolutions or an appropriations act. As of now, NRCS expects to make selections by June 15, with execution of awards projected for September 15.