This mini-grant program will expand farmer-led edge-of-field conservation practice implementation in the Mississippi River Basin. We are seeking pairs of farmers and farm advisors (e.g. county agents/Extension professionals, conservation professionals, crop consultants, agronomic advisors, etc.) that meet eligibility requirements to compete for grants in the amount of up to $8,000. Additional partners beyond the farmer and advisor pair are welcomed. Successful applicants will demonstrate strong potential to complete the following deliverables:
implement a low-cost edge-of-field practice (e.g. vegetated buffers, prairie strips, grade control structures, water control structures, controlled drainage, grassed waterways, 2-stage ditches, drainage water management, saturated buffers, constructed or restored wetlands, phosphorous filter, bioreactor, drainage water recycling, tailwater recovery system, vegetated drainage ditch, buffered drain pipe, winter water holding) on the farmer's operations
attend training to strengthen their capacities as opinion leaders for conservation, and
create a video or podcast about the farmer's experiences to communicate practical advice to other farmers about implementing an edge-of-field practice. The video or podcast will be shared on One Good Idea, a clearinghouse of videos and podcasts that feature farmers sharing their experiences implementing soil and water conservation practices.
Timeline: Six farmer-led demonstration activities will be funded. The project period is one year, which is anticipated to be February 2024 - February 2025. The application for grants has closed. Awards will be announced in February 2024.
Intent of funds/goals of awards:
Expand edge-of-field conservation delivery, adoption, and technologies to improve water quality across the Mississippi River Basin
Encourage partnerships in conservation.
Encourage farmer leadership in watershed conservation.
At least one farmer and one farm advisor must team up to complete the proposed project; maximum of three team members
The project lead must be able to enter into a contract with Mississippi State University (e.g.,the lead organization must have a Tax ID Number, maintain capacity for technical activities and reporting as designated in the scope of work, and pass an audit conducted by MSU prior to contract execution).
The project team must have appropriate fiscal management capacity to accept funds, execute project, and submit expenditures to MSU.
The project team must agree to participate in training and reporting requirements.
The project team must agree to invite the grant administrator to visit field sites.
The project must occur in one of the following states within the Mississippi River Basin: MN, WI, IA, IL, IN, OH, MO, KY, TN, AR, MS, or LA
Examples of Allowable Activities:
Edge-of-field conservation practice implementation (e.g., vegetated buffers, prairie strips, grade control structures, water control structures, controlled drainage, grassed waterways, 2-stage ditches, drainage water management, saturated buffers, constructed or restored wetlands, phosphorous filter, bioreactor, drainage water recycling, tailwater recovery system, vegetated drainage ditch, buffered drain pipe, winter water holding, or other innovative practice); funds may be used toward materials or installation labor costs.
Development of at least one video or podcast that provides practical, farmer-led information about the edge-of-field practice implementation; funds may be used toward production equipment or support.
We invite creative and innovative ideas that meet the objectives.
Complete farmer-led watershed leadership training
Implement edge-of-field conservation practice, documenting with pictures/videos.
Develop multimedia content of conservation implementation to be shared on One Good Idea.
Participate in post-implementation interview.
Maintain fiscal and activity documentation for invoicing to MSU.
Submit final invoice with brief project summary.
Support for these activities is provided by the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research and Walton Family Foundation.
Mississippi Development Authority
The Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) is the state of Mississippis lead economic and community development agency, with approximately 300 employees engaged in providing services to businesses, communities and workers throughout Mississippi.