WASHINGTON — The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced Dec. 5 it has awarded $6.3 million in new grants to support agricultural producers ramp up their conservation efforts across 14 states. The grants were provided through the Conservation Partners Program, a partnership between NFWF, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, and several food industry members including Cargill, The J.M. Smucker Company, Nestlé, General Mills, Walmart and Sam’s Club.
Approximately $4.95 million in matching contributions will be created through the grant, bringing total funding to more than $11.25 million.
“These awards will increase the availability of technical assistance for farmers, ranchers and forest landowners wishing to adopt voluntary conservation practices on their land,” said Jeff Trandahl, chief executive officer and executive director of NFWF. “These locally led conservation projects will help working lands become both more environmentally and economically resilient.”
Sixteen projects will benefit from the grants, including those that support regenerative agriculture initiatives, soil health, biodiversity and community-led conservation efforts, innovative water solutions, rotational grazing practices, grasslands preservation, Audubon conservation, and forage chain resilience. These projects span the Greak Lakes Basin, the Prairie Pothole Region, the Southern Great Plains, and the Upper Mississippi River Basin.
“Through the Conservation Partners Program, we are proud to collaborate to support the impactful regenerative agriculture work being led by NFWF,” said Rebecca Ott, director of sustainability at The J.M. Smucker Co. “As a North American food and beverage company, we understand the importance of sustainable agricultural practices in creating a more resilient grower network in which farmers, communities and the environment can thrive.”
According to NFWF, the Conservation Partners Program has awarded more than $60 million across 278 grants since it was established in 2011. With matching contributions of $95 million from participating funding partners, the organization has provided more than $155 million in total funding for conservation efforts across the United States.
“America’s farms, ranches and private forests provide important wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration, and water quality benefits,” said Terry Cosby, chief of NRCS. “The public-private partnerships sustained by these grants will help support farmers and ranchers as they enhance these ecosystem services through voluntary conservation.”
Find more details about the 2023 Conservation Partners Program grants here.
Stay up to date on the latest pet food processing industry headlines on our News page.