DNR accepting Underserved Farmer grant applications 

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has opened up a second round of applications for the Underserved Farmer to Farmer grant, which aims to assist underserved farm communities in addressing nutrient pollution, frequent flooding and drinking water challenges.

The grants are part of the $3 million, five-year Underserved Farmer to Farmer grant from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Gulf of Mexico division.

In a news release, the state DNR said it will continue to distribute the remaining funds from the $3 million EPA grant to eligible applicants across Iowa over the grant’s remaining three years. 

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 farmers or ranchers who are beginning, socially disadvantaged, veterans or with limited resources.

Eligible applicants include conservation districts, local or state government entities, nonprofits, tribal nations and higher education institutions. Those groups then will 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 Friday, 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 sub awardees with projects ongoing throughout the state to address unique water issues head on,” Steve Konrady, the Iowa DNR’s Western Iowa Basin coordinator, said in the release.

“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,” he added.

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

  • National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Foundation (NASDA) for the Ohio-Tennessee Region. 
  • National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) for conservation districts in the non-Mississippi River Gulf Drainage Region. 
  • Wallace Center at Winrock International for the Upper and Lower Mississippi River Region.

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

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