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. 

Funding Available for Western Lake Erie Basin Agricultural Producers and Landowners to Implement Conservation Practices

Applications due no later than December 15, 2023

LANSING—The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), in partnership with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), is providing funding for agricultural producers and landowners to implement conservation practices in the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB). Participating farmers will receive funding to improve soil health, reduce phosphorus and sediment loading, and prevent harmful algal blooms (HABs) in WLEB.   

The federal funding is available through the Farm Bill as part of the Tri-State Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) which is an ongoing effort between more than 30 local partners throughout Michigan, Indiana and Ohio and is being led by the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. The goal of the RCPP program is provide additional support to reduce phosphorus loading into the WLEB through a variety of conservation practices.

“This program is one of the tools in the toolbox providing support for our farmers prioritizing climate smart agriculture practices, implementing proactive land management and adopting conservation strategies to reduce nutrient loss,” said MDARD Director Tim Boring. “Every new conservation practice implemented can help make a difference in protecting our water quality for future generation and minimize future harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie.”

Michigan’s funding will focus on conservation and climate smart farming practice implementation in the Lime Creek, Nile Ditch, Stony Creek (South Branch River Raisin), S.S. LaPointe Drain, Covell Drain, and Silver Creek sub-watersheds within the WLEB. However, all agricultural lands within Michigan’s portion of the WLEB are eligible to apply. Eligible practices include but are not limited to nutrient management, waste storage structures, drainage water management, and more.  

Applications are taken on a year-round basis; however, interested Michigan producers and landowners should apply no later than December 15 for the current funding cycle.

USDA-NRCS provides a higher level of financial assistance for beginning farmers and historically underserved producers. More information about RCPP and how to apply can be found at your local NRCS office or online at

Program contact: John Switzer, 517-881-5172
Media contact: Jennifer Holton, 517-284-5724

Michigan State University Institute of Water Research

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. 

Conservation Planning:

​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 and Ohio.

Visit the project website to learn more and begin program enrollment:

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:

Learn More

Lenawee County

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.

Learn More

Monroe County

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. 

Learn More

Jackson County

The Jackson County Conservation District offers the following assistance programs:

Learn more!