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NFWF Announces $6.3 Million in New Grants from the Conservation Partners Program

Sixteen projects will help farmers and ranchers adopt economically beneficial practices that sequester carbon and improve soil health, water quality and wildlife habitat

Washington, D.C., Dec. 05, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced $6.3 million in new grants to help agricultural producers implement voluntary conservation practices on farms and ranches across 14 states. The grants will generate $4.95 million in matching contributions for a total conservation impact of more than $11.25 million.

The grants were awarded through the Conservation Partners Program, a partnership between NFWF and the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Cargill, The J.M. Smucker Co. and Nestlé, with additional support from a recently announced collaboration between General Mills, Walmart and Sam’s Club. The program supports efforts to accelerate the adoption of voluntary conservation practices and regenerative agriculture principles on private working lands.

“These awards will increase the availability of technical assistance for farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners wishing to adopt voluntary conservation practices on their land,” said Jeff Trandahl, CEO and executive director of NFWF. “These locally led conservation projects will help working lands become both more environmentally and economically resilient.”

The projects supported by the 16 grants announced today will provide farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners with targeted technical assistance to improve stewardship on working lands and achieve specific conservation outcomes. Biologists and other technical assistance providers supported through these competitive grants will accelerate the adoption of regenerative agricultural practices and support landowner enrollment in Farm Bill conservation programs. 

“America’s farms, ranches, and private forests provide important wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration, and water quality benefits,” said NRCS Chief Terry Cosby. “The public-private partnerships sustained by these grants will help support farmers and ranchers as they enhance these ecosystem services through voluntary conservation.”

The 16 grants announced today span several landscapes across the United States. Funded projects will address important resource concerns in the Prairie Pothole Region, the Southern Great Plains, the Great Lakes Basin and Upper Mississippi River Basin.

“Through the Conservation Partners Program, we are proud to collaborate to support the impactful regenerative agriculture work being led by NFWF,” said Rebecca Ott, Director, Sustainability at The J.M. Smucker Co. “As a North American food and beverage company, we understand the importance of sustainable agricultural practices in creating a more resilient grower network in which farmers, communities and the environment can thrive.”

Since 2011, the Conservation Partners Program has awarded 278 grants for more than $60 million and those grants have leveraged an additional $95 million in matching contributions, generating a total conservation investment of more than $155 million. A complete list of the 2023 grants made through the Conservation Partners Program is available here.    

About the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
Chartered by Congress in 1984, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) protects and restores the nation’s fish, wildlife, plants and habitats. Working with federal, corporate, foundation and individual partners, NFWF has funded more than 6,000 organizations and generated a total conservation impact of $8.1 billion. NFWF is an equal opportunity provider. Learn more at nfwf.org

About the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service 
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that provides one-on-one, personalized advice on the best solutions to meet the unique conservation and business goals of those who grow our nation’s food and fiber. NRCS helps landowners make investments in their operations and local communities to keep working lands working, boost rural economies, increase the competitiveness of American agriculture, and improve the health of our air, water, and soil. NRCS also generates, manages, and shares the data, research and standards that enable partners and policymakers to make decisions informed by objective, reliable science. In simpler terms, NRCS’s focus is “Helping People Help the Land.” For more information, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov.

About Cargill
Cargill’s 155,000 employees across 70 countries work relentlessly to achieve our purpose of nourishing the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way. Every day, we connect farmers with markets, customers with ingredients, and people and animals with the food they need to thrive. We combine 155 years of experience with new technologies and insights to serve as a trusted partner for food, agriculture, financial and industrial customers in more than 125 countries. Side-by-side, we are building a stronger, sustainable future for agriculture.

About General Mills 
General Mills makes food the world loves. The company is guided by its Accelerate strategy to drive shareholder value by boldly building its brands, relentlessly innovating, unleashing its scale and being a force for good. Its portfolio of beloved brands includes household names such as Cheerios, Nature Valley, Blue Buffalo, Häagen-Dazs, Old El Paso, Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Yoplait, Annie’s, Wanchai Ferry, Yoki and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, General Mills generated fiscal 2021 net sales of U.S. $18.1 billion. In addition, the company’s share of non-consolidated joint venture net sales totaled U.S. $1.1 billion. 

About The J.M. Smucker Co. 
At The J.M. Smucker Co., it is our privilege to make food people and pets love by offering a diverse family of brands available across North America. We are proud to lead in the coffee, peanut butter, fruit spreads, frozen handheld, sweet baked goods, dog snacks and cat food categories by offering brands consumers trust for themselves and their families each day including Folgers®, Dunkin’®, Café Bustelo®, Jif®, Smucker’s® Uncrustables®, Smucker’s®, Hostess®, Voortman®, Milk-Bone® and Meow Mix®. Through our unwavering commitment to producing high quality products, operating responsibly and ethically and delivering on our Purpose, we will continue to grow our business while making a positive impact on society. For more information, please visit jmsmucker.com.  

About Nestlé USA
Nestlé USA is committed to unlocking the power of food to enhance quality of life for everyone, today and for generations to come. The company's food and beverage portfolio includes some of the most recognizable brands in the United States including Coffee mate, DiGiorno and Nestlé Toll House as well as category disruptors such as Sweet Earth, and are in nearly every home in the country. Nestlé USA also boasts the largest coffee portfolio in the U.S., including Nescafé and Nestlé Starbucks Coffee. Nestlé USA is part of Nestlé S.A. headquartered in Vevey, Switzerland — the world's largest food and beverage company, which has been named among "The World's Most Admired Food Companies" by Fortune magazine for twenty-five consecutive years. For more information, visit nestleusa.com.


Rob Blumenthal
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation
(202) 857-0166
rob.blumenthal@nfwf.org

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