The National Resource Conservation Service is a division of the USDA. With up to $80M in grants for farmers, ranchers, Native American Tribes, businesses, and more, how can hemp farmers be grant recipients of the current NRCS and RCPP grants?

What is a Grant?

Grants are funds that do not have to be repaid. Funds can be distributed by federal, state, and local government agencies, non and for-profit organizations, higher education institutions, and more. In this blog, we will focus on the grants available by the NRCS and RCPP that hemp farmers and businesses may be eligible for.

Grant I.

Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) On-Farm Trials 

Application Deadline – September 22, 2022

Funding Opportunity and Details

NRCS will invest $25 million in conservation innovation through the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials program. CIG On-Farm Trials support more widespread adoption and evaluation of innovative conservation approaches in partnership with agricultural producers. Incentive payments are provided to producers to offset the risk of implementing innovative approaches.

Hemp farmers and businesses who have adopted, implemented and evaluated conservative till or no-till practices, cover cropping, soil and nutrient management, carbon sequestering, etc. may be eligible for this grant. 


Grant II.

Conservation Innovations Grant (Classic)

Application Deadline – October 11, 2022

Funding Opportunity and Details

NRCS will invest $15 million in conservation innovation this year through the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) Classic program.  CIG is a competitive program that supports the development of new tools, approaches, practices, and technologies to further natural resource conservation on private lands.  Through CIG Classic, partners develop new tools, technologies, and strategies to support next-generation conservation efforts on working lands and develop market-based solutions to resource challenges.

This grant is wide open with vague details, and eligibility is not as stringent. Open to everyone except for federal entities. Hemp can be used in this grant to help with water conservation and soil remediation through crop rotation, using biochar for nutrient management, and growing the crop as a carbon sequester.

Grant III.

RCPP Nutrient Management Grants

Application Deadline – October 31, 2022

Funding Opportunity and Details

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced funding to improve opportunities for nutrient management. This is part of the USDA’s broader effort to address future fertilizer availability and cost challenges for U.S. producers. This announcement includes new flexibilities for nutrient management practices and planning, an economic benefits outreach campaign, and expanded nutrient management capacity. This includes a streamlined funding opportunity for up to $40 million in nutrient management grant opportunities through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

Farming practices with climate-smart practices in mind, such as using cover crops for nitrogen-fixing, [hemp] biochar for soil and nutrient management, or simply planting hemp itself as a carbon sequestering plant may make you an eligible applicant.

In conclusion, there is $80M worth of agriculture grants that farmers, non-profits, businesses, Native American Tribes, etc. can take advantage of while saving the environment. This is a win-win situation for farmers who want to transition from conventional farming to climate-smart practices that target soil and nutrient management and enrichment, better and healthier yields, and carbon sequestering practices.

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