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Federal (NRCS, EPA, FSA)

Information for NRCS, EPA, FSA

For more information on NRCS, EPA, or FSA go to:

Natural Resource Conservation Service – http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/

Environmental Protection Agency – http://www.epa.gov/

Farm Service Agency – http://www.fsa.usda.gov

Program Description More Information
Agricultural Management Assistance Agricultural Management Assistance (AMA) provides cost share assistance to agricultural producers to voluntarily address issues such as water management, water quality, and erosion control by incorporating conservation into their farming operations.

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Agricultural Water Enhancement Program A voluntary conservation initiative that provides financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to implement agricultural water enhancement activities on agricultural land for the purposes of conserving surface and ground water and improving water quality.

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Agriculture and Food Research Initiative A competitive grant program that will provide grants for fundamental and applied research, extension, and education to address food and agricultural issues.  AFRI takes the place of both the National Research Initiative (NRI), authorized in 1990, and the Initiative for Future Agricultural and Food Systems (IFAFS), authorized in 1998.

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Animal Feeding Operations Designed to help AFO owners and operators to achieve their production and natural resource conservation goals through development and implementation of comprehensive nutrient management plans (CNMPs).

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Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program Provide grants to entities that offer training, mentoring, and land-link opportunities for new farmers.

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Brownfield Program (EPA)
Involves sites that are abandoned, idled, or under-used industrial and commercial facilities where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination.

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Community Food Project Grants Aims to fight food insecurity by supporting the development of community-based food projects in low-income communities.

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Comprehensive Nutrient Management Planning Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans (CNMPs) are conservation plans unique to livestock operations.

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Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) Effort is to quantify the environmental benefits of conservation practices used by private landowners participating in selected USDA conservation programs.

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Conservation Innovation Grants A voluntary program intended to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural production.

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Conservation Loans Provides direct or guaranteed conservation loans to qualified borrowers.

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Conservation of Private Grazing Land Works to ensure that technical, educational, and related assistance is provided to those who own private grazing lands.

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Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program A voluntary land retirement program that helps agricultural producers protect environmentally sensitive land, decrease erosion, restore wildlife habitat, and safeguard ground and surface water.

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Conservation Reserve Program Provides technical and financial assistance to eligible farmers and ranchers to address soil, water, and related natural resource concerns on their lands in an environmentally beneficial and cost-effective manner.

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Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Transition Option Offers a special incentive of two years of extra CRP rental payments to owners of land, which is currently in the CRP but returning to production, who rent or sell to beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers who will use sustainable grazing practices, resource-conserving cropping systems, or transition to organic production.

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Conservation Stewardship Program A voluntary conservation program that encourages producers to address resource concerns in a comprehensive manner by undertaking additional conservation activities; and improving, maintaining, and managing existing conservation activities.

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Conservation Technical Assistance Provides technical assistance supported by science-based technology and tools to help people conserve, maintain, and improve their natural resources.

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Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative A voluntary program established to foster conservation partnerships that focus technical and financial resources on conservation priorities in watersheds and airsheds of special significance.

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Direct and Guaranteed Farm Ownership and Operating Loans The Farm Service Agency of USDA provides direct and guaranteed farm ownership and operating loans for farmers and ranchers.  Direct loans are made by FSA.

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Down-Payment Loan Program Combines the resources of the Farm Service Agency, a beginning or socially disadvantaged farmer, and a commercial lender or private seller to enable beginning, minority, and women farmers to make a down payment on a farm or ranch.

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Emergency Conservation Program Provides emergency funding and technical assistance for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters and for carrying out emergency water conservation measures in periods of severe drought.

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Emergency Watershed Protection The purpose is to undertake emergency measures, including the purchase of flood plain easements, for runoff retardation and soil erosion prevention to safeguard lives and property from floods, drought, and the products of erosion on any watershed whenever fire, flood or any other natural occurrence is causing or has caused a sudden impairment of the watershed.

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Environmental Education Grants Program The goal of this program is to support environmental education projects which enhance the public’s awareness, knowledge, and skills to make informed and responsible decisions that affect environmental quality.

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Environmental Information Exchange Network Grant Program The Exchange Network Grant Program provides funding to States, Territories, and Federally Recognized Indian Tribes to support the development of Environmental Information Exchange network.

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Environmental Justice Grants The Environmental Justice through pollution prevention (EJP2) grant program supports community-based groups across the nation develop collaborative approaches to achieve environmental justice through pollution prevention.

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Farm & Ranch lands protection program The Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program (FRPP) provides matching funds to help purchase development rights to keep productive farm and ranchland in agricultural uses. Working through existing programs, USDA partners with State, tribal, or local governments and non-governmental organizations to acquire conservation easements or other interests in land from landowners.

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Farmable Wetlands program The Farmable Wetlands Program (FWP) is a voluntary program to restore up to 500,000 acres of farmable wetlands and associated buffers by improving the land’s hydrology and vegetation.  Eligible producers in all states can enroll eligible land in the FWP through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

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Farmers’ Market Promotion Program The Farmers’ Market Promotion Program (FMPP) aims to increase and strengthen direct producer-to-consumer marketing channels. Through a competitive grants application process, FMPP funds marketing proposals for community-supported agriculture programs, farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and other direct marketing strategies.

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Farmland Protection Policy Act The FPPA is intended to minimize the impact Federal programs have on the unnecessary and irreversible conversion of farmland to nonagricultural uses. It assures that—to the extent possible—Federal programs are administered to be compatible with state, local units of government, and private programs and policies to protect farmland. Federal agencies are required to develop and review their policies and procedures to implement the FPPA every two years.

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Grassland Reserve Program The Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) is a voluntary program offering landowners the opportunity to protect, restore, and enhance grasslands on their property.

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Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative The Grazing Land Conservation Initiative (GLCI) is a nationwide collaborative process of individuals and organizations working to maintain and improve the management, productivity, and health of the Nation’s privately owned grazing land. This process has formed coalitions that represent the grass root concerns that impact private grazing land. The coalitions actively seek sources to increase technical assistance and public awareness activities that maintain or enhance grazing land resources.

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Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) Land Acquisition The acquisition of land association with approved HCPs which benefit federally listed threatened or endangered species, unlisted (including State-listed species), proposed and candidate species covered by the HCP. Link
Healthy Forests Reserve Program The Healthy Forests Reserve Program (HFRP) is a voluntary program established for the purpose of restoring and enhancing forest ecosystems to: 1) promote the recovery of threatened and endangered species, 2) improve biodiversity; and 3) enhance carbon sequestration.

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Highly Erodible Land and Wetland Conservation (HELC/WC) Compliance provisions The Food Security Act of 1985, as amended, provides dis-incentives to farmers and ranchers who produce annually tilled agricultural commodity crops on highly erodible cropland without adequate erosion protection.  In addition, these dis-incentives apply to farmers and ranchers who produce annually tilled agricultural commodities or make possible the production of agricultural commodities on land classified as wetlands.

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Interstate Shipment of State-Inspected Meat A new provision allows for the interstate shipment of meat and poultry and their products from certain small state-inspected packing and processing establishments. The new provision does not allow for the interstate shipment of all meat and poultry that have been inspected by state agencies under state law.

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Local and Regional Food Enterprise Guaranteed Loans The 2008 Farm Bill creates new loan and loan guarantee authority for local and regional food enterprises through the Business and Industry (B&I) Loan program administered by the Rural Development branch of the USDA. While the authority allows USDA to make or guarantee loans, the B&I program currently is entirely federal guarantees of commercial loans.

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National Center for Environmental Research Grants, Fellowships, Research Associateships and the Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program.

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National Network for Environmental Management Studies Fellowships Information about the National Network for Environmental Management Studies (NNEMS) undergraduate and graduate student fellowship program, and application information.

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National Organic Certification Cost Share Program Makes financial assistance available to help defray the costs of organic certification for producers and handlers of organic products.  Producers and handlers can receive up to 75 percent of their annual certification costs up to a maximum payment of $750 per year.

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Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative OREI funds research, education, and extension projects that enhance the ability of producers and processors to grow and market high quality organic agricultural products.

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EQIP Support for Organic Growers EQIP offers financial and technical help to assist eligible participants install or implement structural and management practices on eligible agricultural land.

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Pollution Prevention incentives for states The Pollution Prevention Incentives for States (PPIS) grant program provides about $5 million annually to state and tribal programs to help develop and sustain state P2 program activities and pioneer new P2 approaches in the states.

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Rapid Watersheds Assessments The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is encouraging the development of rapid watershed assessments in order to increase the speed and efficiency generating information to guide conservation implementation, as well as the speed and efficiency of putting it into the hands of local decision makers.

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Recovery Land Acquisition The acquisition of habitat in support of approved recovery goals or objectives which benefit federally listed threatened or endangered species.

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Resource Conservation & Development Program The purpose is to accelerate the conservation, development and utilization of natural resources, improve the general level of economic activity, and to enhance the environment and standard of living in designated RC&D areas.

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Risk management education and partnership Special emphasis on grants for risk management education projects aimed at assisting beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers; funding was held constant.

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Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program Provides entrepreneurs in rural areas with the skills necessary to establish new businesses and continue operation of existing rural microenterprises.

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Small, Limited, and Beginning Farmer Assistance Provides for voluntary participation, offers incentives, and focuses on equity in accessing U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs and services.

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Socially Disadvantaged, beginning, & limited Resource Farmers/Ranchers Provides for voluntary participation, offers incentives, and focuses on equity in accessing U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs and services.

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Source Water Protection Program Designed to help prevent source water pollution in 33 states through voluntary practices installed by producers at local levels.

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Specialty Crop Block Grant Program Provides grants annually to assist State Departments of Agriculture in enhancing the competitiveness of specialty crops (fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and nursery crops).

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Specialty Crop Research Initiative A competitive grant program that will fund specialty crop research and extension projects conducted by federal agencies, national laboratories, colleges and universities, research institutions and organizations, private organizations or corporations, State agricultural experiment stations, and individuals.

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Value-Added Producer Grants Provides competitive grants to individual independent agricultural producers, groups of independent producers, producer-controlled entities, organizations representing agricultural producers, and farmer or rancher cooperatives to create or develop value-added producer-owned businesses.

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Water Grants Information on national grant programs, including the State Revolving Funds for drinking water and wastewater, grants for water pollution prevention and wetlands protection, and tribal grants.

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Watershed Funding Committed watershed organizations and state and local governments need adequate resources to achieve the goals of the Clean Water Act and improve our nations water quality.

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Wetlands reserve program The Wetlands Reserve Program is a voluntary program offering landowners the opportunity to protect, restore, and enhance wetlands on their property.

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Wildlife Habitat Incentives program A voluntary program for people who want to develop and improve wildlife habitat primarily on private land.

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