MACD and Partners Awarded $4.7 Million via USDA-NRCS Climate Smart Commodities Grant

MACD and Partners Awarded $4.7 Million via USDA-NRCS Climate Smart Commodities Grant


"Michigan Association of Conservation Districts and Partners Awarded $4.7 Million via USDA-NRCS Climate Smart Commodities Grant"

East Lansing, MI - December 13th, 2022 - Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) announced several awardees of the Climate Smart Commodities Grant. Included in the recipients was the Michigan Association of Conservation Districts (MACD)and their project partners: Washtenaw County Conservation District (WCCD); Lenawee Conservation District; Monroe Conservation District; Wayne County Conservation District; Michigan Department of Agriculture- Environmental Stewardship Division; University of Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability; Carbon Yield; Washtenaw County; The Soil Inventory Project; Keep Growing Detroit; and Taste the Local Difference (TLD).

MACD and their partners were awarded $4,724,000 in total for the project entitled “The Michigan Climate Smart Farm Project” (MCSFP). The project plans to provide financial assistance to small scale and underserved producers using practices like cover crops, residue and tillage management, pasture/silvo-pasture establishment, feed management, forest stand improvement, wetland restoration and combustion system improvements. Farmers and producers are positioned to receive a regenerative premium through selling climate-smart products in direct-to-market opportunities like farmers’ markets. 

In addition, the MCSFP will build on the long standing Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP) to develop a Climate Smart Farm (CSF) pilot program. This new project will focus on accounting for the impact of climate smart agriculture and forestry (CSAF) practices on the small, diversified farms common in Washtenaw, Wayne, Monroe, and Lenawee counties, whose Conservation Districts serve as project partners.

WCCD Executive Director Megan DeLeeuw stated, “As the proposal lead, we brought several partners to the table, including MACD. We’re grateful for their partnership in this project and eager to begin the work.”

“Washtenaw County CD is thrilled to spearhead the effort to develop a MI Climate Smart Farm program so that farms of all types and scales may benefit economically from this work,” agreed Jill Dohner, Chair of WCCD’s Board of Directors.

Program partner MACD was also happy to hear the news, “This is a tremendous opportunity for small-scale and underserved producers in Southeast Michigan,” expressed Dan Moilanen, Executive Director of MACD. “This project will help deliver critical conservation practices on the ground throughout the region to help producers conserve their soil, reduce nutrient loss, sequester carbon, and market their products as ‘climate smart.’”

MACD President Jerry Miller was also enthusiastic to learn about the grant's award:

“This project provides Conservation Districts in the Western Lake Erie Basin an opportunity to collaborate with partners and farmers to implement conservation practices to protect and enhance the soil, water and plant resources across the basin.” Miller added, “We at the state association are pleased to work with the Conservation Districts, partners, and farmers to implement this innovative project.”

The remaining terms of the grant will be negotiated with USDA-NRCS in January of 2023, and details regarding the application process for producers will be forthcoming.

Michigan Conservation Districts are unique local units of government that are the community-level providers of natural resource management services, utilizing state, federal, and private sector resources to solve today’s conservation challenges.

MACD is a not-for-profit membership organization that serves Michigan’s 75 Conservation Districts. Their mission is to strengthen Conservation Districts through leadership, information, and representation at the state level. MACD does this by providing outreach, advocacy, educational programming, and business services to help Conservation Districts thrive.




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