EPA Announces $11 Million for Farm-Focused Projects to Improve Water Quality and Environmental Education
WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the selection of twelve projects to receive “Farmer to Farmer” grant funding totaling $10,951,735. EPA’s grants support the leadership of farmers in improving water quality, habitat, resilience, and peer-to-peer information exchange to benefit communities and ecosystems in the Gulf of Mexico Watershed.
“EPA is proud to support the leadership of farmers and their innovative approaches to improve water quality while working to fuel and feed the world,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “EPA is committed to meaningful partnerships with farmers to advance sustainable agriculture practices while creating healthy, clean, and safe environments for all.”
Today, the agency announced the award of over $9.9 million to 11 organizations. Additionally, the agency anticipates awarding over $990,000 to one additional organization once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.
In the Gulf of Mexico watershed, farmers manage millions of acres of privately held working lands. While farmers are working in this watershed to provide the food, fuel, and fiber for the world, they are also managing challenges across the landscape to minimize pollution occuring from a variety of locations known as “nonpoint sources,” specifically the excess nitrogen and phosphorous that can enter waterbodies through runoff or soil erosion.
Excess nutrients delivered to the Gulf of Mexico come from sources across the entire watershed; many of which are nonpoint sources from the agricultural landscape. Farmers are often the first line of action in reducing nonpoint source pollution and have developed innovative practices and models to share their knowledge with others.
The collaboration of a wide range of stakeholders and organizations across an entire watershed is vital to reducing nutrient pollution to our water. Farmers can play an important leadership role in these efforts when they get involved and engage with their State governments, farm organizations, conservation groups, educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and community groups.
2021 Farmer to Farmer Projects:
- University of Mississippi $999,957- Restoring Temporary Wetland Function to Agricultural Watersheds with Innovative Farmer-Driven Offseason Water Management Practices.
- Northwest Florida Water Management District $959,754 - Algae Harvesting and Biomass Reuse for Sustainable Nutrient Reduction in Agricultural Runoff to the Gulf of Mexico.
- Sand County Foundation $997,383 - Show Me the Data! Empowering Conservation Champions with Innovative Real-Time Soil Metrics. (EPA anticipates awarding this grant once all legal and administrative requirements are satisfied.)
- The Savanna Institute $994,287 - Employing Agroforestry to Improve Water Quality in the Gulf of Mexico.
- American Farmland Trust $853,866 - Farming for Cleaner Water in the Upper Scioto River Watershed.
- Oklahoma State University $877,569 - Virtual Fencing to Control Cattle for Improved Ecosystem Services.
- Practical Farmers of Iowa $979,915 - Strengthening Farmer Networks to Improve Water Quality and Wildlife Habitat in the On-Demand World.
- Iowa Department of Natural Resources $559,258 - Mentoring for Success in the Beaver Creek Watershed.
- Kansas Department of Health and Environment $750,000 - Enhancing Local Farmer Networks in Kansas to Aid in Nutrient Reduction to the Gulf of Mexico.
- Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship $1,000,000 - Fostering Opportunities for Water Quality Wetlands Demonstration Project.
Regions 5 and 6
- University of Wisconsin Madison $993,585 - Cultivating Farmer Leaders and Farmer-to-Farmer Learning for Cleaner Waters and Healthier Soils in the Mississippi and Atchafalaya River Basins.
Regions 4 and 5
- Mississippi State University $986,161- Sensible Agronomics and Shrewd Conversations Support the Adoption of Environmentally Sustainable and Economically Sound Production Systems.
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. 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 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.
For more information visit: https://www.epa.gov/gulfofmexico