Climate Update: Funding available for soil health, climate resilience  

By Ariel Kagan

State Funds Available – apply for new equipment grant by March 20 

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has opened applications for the Soil Health Financial Assistance Grant pilot program. This program offers cost-share on new and used equipment, or parts for retrofits, that support soil health practices. Examples of equipment that this grant supports include no-till drills, broadcast seeders, and crimpers among many others.  

Applications are open now through March 20. If you’re a farmer, a producer group, or a local government unit (including SWCDs) you can apply. Visit the MDA website for more information –, or contact Jess Jurcek: 651-802-3059; 

Federal Funds Available – apply for EQIP, CSP by March 24 

On Feb. 13, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced USDA will make funding available for farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners nationwide to participate in NRCS voluntary conservation programs to adopt climate-smart practices with funding authorized by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).  

These additional funds will support the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) and Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). These funds will help support new applications and help fund applications in the current pipeline. NRCS accepts applications year-round, but producers interested in EQIP or CSP should apply by March 24 (Minnesota ranking date). Reach out to your local service center for more information – 

Partner Survey: Regional Research on Livestock + Crops 

Integration of crops and livestock, such as grazing crop residue and cover crops, brings a package of benefits including reduced costs, improved fertility, and a stronger local community.  But there are challenges too: logistics of time and labor, infrastructure costs, maybe even a new skill set.  The “Match Made in Heaven” survey wants to hear where farmers are at: about your interests, experiences, and challenges around integrating crops and livestock.  This project is a partnership between crop and livestock associations, universities, public agencies, and soil and water groups.  Complete the survey to enter a drawing for $100 gift cards.  Find more information and a link to the survey at the MMIH website.