The Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service is investing up to $50 million nationally in cooperative agreements to support historically underserved farmers and ranchers with climate-smart agriculture and forestry.

The Racial Justice and Equity Conservation Cooperative Agreements are available to entities for two-year projects that expand the delivery of conservation assistance to tribes and farmers who are beginning, limited-resource, socially disadvantaged, or veterans. Entities and individuals who provide outreach assistance to historically underserved groups are eligible and must apply by Oct. 25. Go to the announcement for details and application instructions.

NRCS Chief Terry Cosby said USDA is “committed to revising programs to be more equitable, and these producers deserve our support as they contribute to our vibrant and diverse agricultural communities.”

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“Historically underserved producers face significant barriers in accessing assistance for conservation and climate-smart agriculture,” said NRCS California State Conservationist Carlos Suarez. “The goal of this outreach is for NRCS in collaboration with partners to expand the delivery of conservation assistance to historically underserved farmers and ranchers. Proposals should support activities that introduce the concepts of climate-smart agriculture and assist producers with planning and implementation of conservation practices and principles.” 

NRCS says projects eligible for the funding should help producers improve soil health and water quality; provide habitat for local wildlife species of concern; improve the environmental and economic performance of working agricultural land; and build and strengthen local food projects that provide healthy food and economic opportunities.

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