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USDA Seeks Partnerships To Expand Conservation On Grazing Lands

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing up to $22 million in partnerships that expand access to conservation technical assistance for livestock producers and increase the use of conservation practices on grazing lands. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is accepting proposals through its Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative until Sunday, May 26.

“Privately owned grazing lands cover nearly 30 percent of the national landscape, which means we have a tremendous opportunity to address climate change and conserve natural resources through voluntary, private lands conservation,” said NRCS Chief Terry Cosby. “NRCS enlists a wide variety of conservation practices to help livestock producers. These partnerships will also help us expand the footprint of conservation on grazing lands and could help better reach underserved producers.”

Project proposals for GLCI Cooperative Agreements will identify and address barriers to accessing grazing assistance for producers. These partnerships are encouraged to include outreach and support for reaching underserved producers. Projects must address one or more of the following priorities:

•Local natural resource concerns.

•Climate-smart agriculture and forestry practices and principles.

•Encourage existing and new partnerships through emphasizing equity in advancing the resource needs of underserved communities.

•Identify and implement strategies to quantify, monitor, report on and verify conservation benefits associated with grazing management systems.

•Utilize Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge, where applicable.

Through GLCI, NRCS will use partnerships to increase technical assistance for farmers and ranchers engaged in grazing activities. This will increase knowledge and expertise in working with underserved producers to increase their participation in new and existing grazing coalitions. GLCI aims to expand and establish new peerto- peer networks for grazers and direct financial support for mentors working with new, beginning or transitioning grazers. Eligibility is limited to single individuals or the following entity types based in any of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Caribbean Area (Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands), and the Pacific Islands Area (Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands): •Nonprofit organizations having a 501(c)(3) status with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) (other than institutions of higher education)

•Farmer or rancher organizations •State and local conservation governmental agencies

•Agricultural Extension Services

•Native American Tribal governments (federally recognized) •Native American Tribal organizations (other than federally recognized Tribal governments)

•Land grant universities including 1890 or 1994 land grant institution (7 U.S.C. 3222 et seq.), Hispanic-serving institution (20 U.S.C. 1101a), or other minority- serving institution, such as a historically Black college or university (20 U.S.C. 1061), a Tribally-controlled college or university (25 U.S.C. 1801), or Asian American and Pacific Islander-serving institution (20 U.S.C. 1059g) For more information and to apply, visit the funding opportunity on

Applications are being accepted now through Sunday, May 26, 2024.

GLCI was developed as a coordinated effort to identify priority issues, find solutions and effect change on private grazing land, enhancing existing conservation programs. GLCI also supports the National Grazing Lands Coalition to help state grazing coalitions boost participation from underserved producers; host a Triennial National Grazing Lands Conference; and to act as navigators for grazers seeking additional resources.

USDA is reviving and revitalizing GLCI to leverage partner capacity, expertise and technical assistance to expand the footprint of well-managed grazing systems across the country. While some states have been able to use annual funds to support similar agreements, this new structure and additional funding provides a more strategic and comprehensive approach to support grazing systems, reach new and underserved producers and address climate change.

For more information about NRCS’s grazing lands efforts, visit the NRCS website.

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