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DNR accepting applications for Underserved Farmer to Farmer grant

DES MOINES – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is now accepting a second round of applications as part of the $3 million, 5-year Underserved Farmer to Farmer grant from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico division.

The DNR will continue to distribute the remaining funds from the $3 million EPA grant to eligible applicants across the state over the remaining three years of the grant. Through the grant, the DNR looks to increase the ability of historically underserved farm communities to address nutrient pollution, frequent flooding, and drinking water challenges.

A second round of subawards will be issued to eligible entities who will work with farmers and farm communities who fall under at least one of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s four underserved groups, which includes those who are beginning, socially disadvantaged, veterans and with limited resources.

Eligible subawardees to apply for grants include conservation districts, local or state government entities, nonprofits, tribal nations and institutions of higher learning. Those groups will then work with the DNR to develop projects with a focus on water quality, such as flood reduction, source water protection and nutrient reduction.

Projects may be awarded up to $250,000 with no match requirement. Applications will be accepted now through May 31, though multiple rounds are possible.

“We have had good success awarding funding with this grant so far, and the first round found nine eligible subawardees with projects ongoing throughout the state to address unique water issues head on," said Steve Konrady, the DNR's Western Iowa Basin Coordinator. "The remaining funding will allow us to engage with three to four more partners in the second round, and we hope to see some unique projects and partnerships come forward to help us expand the reach and impact of this fantastic opportunity from EPA."

The Iowa DNR is one of four awardees for the grant across the country. Other awardees include:

  • National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Foundation (NASDA) for the Ohio-Tennessee Region (Gulf drainage portions of Indiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee).
  • National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) for conservation districts in the non-Mississippi River Gulf Drainage Region (Gulf drainage portions of New Mexico, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Texas)
  • Wallace Center at Winrock International for the Upper and Lower Mississippi River Region (Gulf drainage portions of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana)

Questions regarding grant applications and submissions can be sent to watershed.improvement@dnr.iowa.gov

For more information and to submit an application, visit www.iowadnr.gov/watershed