Grants and Funding
Becoming a better of your steward of your land and public water is an investment. And while we hope the investment will more than pay for itself in the years to come, many operators will benefit from some upfront assistance getting conservation practices in place.
The various members of the Farmer-Led Watershed Conservation Network offer a wide range of programs that offer financial and technical assistance to farmers who want to do their part. Please contact us to discuss the following options and we'll help you figure out which of these might be right for you.
Everywhere We Work: Natural Resources Conservation Service
Your local county conservation district partners with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to offer both technical assistance and funding to producers to to improve their soil health, reduce their cost of inputs, and reduce nutrient loss into waterways.
A conservation plan is a road map of resource concerns on your farm as well as a plan for strategies to address those concerns. All financial assistance through NRCS requires a completed conservation plan after submitting an application.
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP):
The EQIP program can help cover producers' costs for over 200 conservation practices -- everything from cover crops and seasonal high tunnels to erecting livestock fencing. Farmers must have an NRCS-approved conservation plan in place to be eligible for this program. -- More --
Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP):
The CSP program is designed for producers that have already implemented conservation practices on the land and want to go even further. CSP contracts are typically longer than EQIP. -- More --
Farmers must have an NRCS-approved conservation plan in place to be eligible for this program.
Agricultural Conservation Easement Program
The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program helps landowners, land trusts, and other entities protect, restore, and enhance wetlands, grasslands, and working farms and ranches through conservation easements. -- More --
Indiana and Michigan Cover Crops Partnership
Ducks Unlimited (DU) is partnering with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), Archer-Daniels-Midland Company (ADM), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Farmers Business Network (FBN) to incentivize producers in Indiana and Michigan to implement 75,000 acres of cover crops. The goal of this project is to improve local soil health, water quality and wildlife habitats.
Over the next 4 years, DU will work with their partners and private landowners to enroll acres into cover crop contracts with ADM. In return, the landowners will receive a $10/acre incentive payment, each year, for 4 years ($40 per acre total).
Update: As of Oct. 1, 2022, due to high demand, the Michigan program has an application waitlist for enrollment. Applications are still accepted for Indiana.
Visit the project website to learn more and begin program enrollment: www.ducks.org/covercrops
Everywhere We Work: Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program
The Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) offers assistance and recognition to farmers who reduce erosion and runoff from private land into public waters. We teach effective land stewardship practices that comply with state and federal regulations and show producers how to identify and prevent agricultural pollution risks on their farms.
This program is free, voluntary, and non-regulatory. Everything MAEAP Technicians learn about your farm is 100% confidential. MAEAP Technicians are local Conservation District employees whom you can trust. Even if a MAEAP Technician sees a potential “violation”, they cannot report it to regulatory agencies. This is guaranteed by state law.
MAEAP partner organizations offer incentives after producers become verified in the program:
Farm Bureau: Offers discounts of up to 20% on the liability portion of a farm owners' policy for MAEAP verified farms.
Michigan Corn Growers Association: Free 3-year membership for first-time verification (Verifiers have membership forms).
Crystal Flash: Will offer up to 10 percent off a fuel tank purchase to meet MAEAP verification.
Michigan Pork Producers: Will offer to help pay for a second MAEAP sign for pork producers
Michigan Wheat Program: Offers a one-time $50 financial award for documented wheat farmers (one award per farmer, not per farm) who are currently growing wheat and have obtained their first cropping system verification in MAEAP (guidelines and forms located on wheat.
The Lenawee Conservation District offers the following assistance programs:
Erosion Control Assistance. This program helps farmers deal with gullies and concentrated flow erosion. This program can help cover up to 70% of the cost to install grass waterways, erosion control structures, and water and sediment control basins.
Nutrient Management Assistance. This program helps farmers acquire and use new technology that reduces the need to apply phosphorus and nitrogen to cropland. Farmers can use these funds to acquire yield monitors, hydraulic down pressure, electric drives, variable rate applicators, GPS, nitrogen applicators, strip-till equipment, cover crops, and no-till combos, etc.
Best Management Practice Assistance. Any on-farm practices that help farmers reduce phosphorous application or runoff may be eligible for financial support.
Truax No-Till Grass Drill Grant Program
The Monroe Conservation District, in partnership with the Michigan DNR, offers short-term rental agreements for a Truax No-Till Grass Drill.
The Jackson County Conservation District offers the following assistance programs:
A soil testing program. Farmers and landowners can drop off soil samples. The district will secure the test and help the landowner understand the results.
MAEAP and Conservation Technical Assistance Initiative Engineer grants.
Equipment to rent: Soil probes, knotweed injectors, backpack sprayers and a no-till grass and grain drill.