USDA Invests $50 Million in Partnerships to Improve Equity in Conservation Programs, Address Climate Change

The Pocasset Pokanoket Land Trust is an awardee of this grant.

Press Release from the USDA

ATLANTA, January 10, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $50 million in 118 partnerships to expand access to conservation assistance for climate-smart agriculture and forestry. The Equity Conservation Cooperative Agreements, administered by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will fund two-year projects to expand the delivery of conservation assistance to farmers who are new to farming, low income, socially disadvantaged or military veterans. Projects will support USDA’s broader effort to address climate change and equitable access to programs.

“We are committed to equal opportunity for those we serve, and we are taking bold, historic action to advance equity and root out generations of systemic racism,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “These partnerships are another example of how we are helping ensure historically underserved producers can more fully access and participate in our programs and services. As we’ve said before: equity will be a vital part of our climate change work, as America’s farmers and rural communities are on the frontlines of climate change. Our work with producers and partners will invest in climate smart solutions that improve profitability and resilience, open new market opportunities, and build wealth that stays in rural communities.”

The program encourages new partnerships and the development of state and community conservation leadership for historically underserved producers, with projects focusing on one or more of the following key conservation priorities:

  • Improving soil health and water quality;
  • Providing habitat for at-risk wildlife;
  • Improving natural resources and productivity on agricultural lands; and/or
  • Building and strengthening local and regional food systems and markets.

Among the partnerships are the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund and McIntosh Sustainable Environment and Economic Development (SEED).  The partnership with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund, expands the Regional Agro Forestry Center (RAFC) to include climate smart agriculture, participation in conservation easements, heirs property consultations, forest management plans and certifications, and youth employment placement for Alabama, Georgia, Texas, South Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Additionally, a Regional Community Forest Justice Initiative (RCFJI) will provide limited-resource forest landowners with conservation education, technical assistance and a climate smart vision for their land

The McIntosh Sustainable Environment and Economic Development (SEED) will help historically underserved producers implement natural resources conservation and climate smart agricultural practices. They will work with producers to strengthen marketing skills, access new markets, and produce and sell cooperatively. Additionally, SEED will engage historically underserved youth in 24 climate-impacted and economically distressed counties in Georgia through outreach and education, providing access to NRCS technical assistance, certifications and youth internships.

View a full list of the partnerships

More Information

These partnerships are part of USDA’s broader efforts to address inequity in program delivery. Today, USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) also announced its plans to invest $2 million in risk management education for historically underserved and small-scale producers. This doubles RMA’s successful $1 million investment in 2021. Also in 2021, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) invested $4.7 million to establish 56 partnerships with organizations to provide outreach and technical assistance to historically underserved farmers and ranchers.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America.

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RI Gives Vax Challenge distributes final $380K in grants to 38 nonprofits

August 18, 2021 1:35 pm
Read this article on at Providence Business News

VaccinationPROVIDENCE – The state has distributed the two final rounds of the RI Gives Vax Challenge grant program, the governor’s office announced Wednesday, awarding another 38 nonprofits a combined $380,000 in grants.

The grant rounds were triggered by the state surpassing both 20,000 and 25,000 new vaccinations since the incentive program began in July. Each recipient of a grant from the program received $10,000.

“Right now we know that every shot counts, especially when it comes to protecting ourselves against the delta variant and getting students safely back in the classroom,” said Gov. Daniel J. McKee in a statement. “Thank you to all Rhode Islanders who have stepped up to get vaccinated and supported our local nonprofits through the RI Gives Vax Challenge. This is a powerful example of the community coming together [to] keep each other healthy. If you have not gotten vaccinated yet, it is time.”

Now concluded, the RI Gives Vax Challenge program, which was a collaboration between the governor’s office, the Rhode Island Foundation, the R.I. Department of Health and R.I. Commerce Corp., has distributed a total of $750,000 to 75 nonprofits in the state.

“This is just one more example of the remarkable way Rhode Islanders have pitched in over the past 17 months. The funding will enable nonprofits to continue to provide food, housing and health care to people who still are struggling with the impact of the pandemic,” stated Neil D. Steinberg, CEO and president of the Rhode Island Foundation.

Round 4 recipients of the program include:

  • Amenity Aid
  • Capital City Community Centers
  • Central Falls Family Self Sufficiency Foundation
  • Clothes to Kids RI Inc.
  • Esperanza/Hope
  • Foster Forward
  • Hope’s Harvest RI
  • Interfaith Counseling Center
  • Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale
  • Lucy’s Hearth
  • McAuley Ministries
  • New Beginnings
  • Operation Stand Down Rhode Island
  • Progreso Latino
  • Providence Rescue Mission
  • Rhode Island for Community & Justice
  • We Share Hope

Round 5 recipients include:

  • Alliance of Rhode Island Southeast Asians for Education
  • Boys & Girls Clubs of Newport County
  • Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket
  • Bridgemark Inc.
  • CartwheelRI
  • Centro de Innovacion Mujer Latina
  • Clinica Esperanza/Hope Clinic
  • Elizabeth Buffum Chace Center
  • Good Neighbors
  • Housing Hotline
  • Inspiring Minds
  • Mentor Rhode Island
  • Open Doors
  • New Urban Arts
  • Pocasset Pokanoket Land Trust
  • Rhode Island Center Assisting Those in Need
  • Silver Lake Community Center
  • St. Martin de Porres Senior Center
  • West End Community Center
  • West Warwick Senior Center