December 11, 2023

Contact: Mary Juhl;, 612-358-5733

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) is offering more than $2.5 million in federal grant funding to soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs) to support climate-smart ag practices including additional soil health-related technical assistance. BWSR anticipates selecting up to 10 districts for these grants.

The application period opened today and will close on Feb. 8, 2024. Click here to apply and learn more.

This funding is available through the Alliance to Advance Climate Smart Agriculture, a national USDA-funded pilot program led by Virginia Tech University (formerly known as the RIPE100 program) to support landowner adoption of climate-smart practices. During the three-year pilot program, a total of $80 million will be available to partners in Minnesota, Virginia, Arkansas and North Dakota for program administration and direct financial incentives for producers. Through the pilot program, farmers and ranchers in participating districts will be eligible to receive $100 per acre or animal unit by voluntarily implementing practices that sequester carbon, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve soil health and improve water quality and conservation. Up to $13 million is expected to be available in mid-2024 to producers in Minnesota for these practices.

“These grants to SWCDs are an important first step for Minnesota to take as we embark on implementing this large-scale pilot program,” BWSR Executive Director John Jaschke said. “This funding will help prepare SWCDs to offer increased technical assistance to landowners who qualify for these federal incentive payments, laying the groundwork for successful partnerships at the local, state and federal levels.”   

By proving the value of climate-smart practices, this pilot program has the potential to serve as a national model. Awarded districts will have an opportunity to lead the state and the nation in implementing this one-of-a-kind pilot to compensate producers based on the multiple benefits of their stewardship practices. 

The Alliance to Advance Climate Smart Agriculture grants are part of a broader effort BWSR is undertaking to work with landowners across the state to improve soil health. BWSR received $21 million from the state’s general fund and $12 million from the Clean Water Fund during the 2023 legislative session to support soil health programming. BWSR was also selected in November to receive $25 million in Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) funds from the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service for soil health initiatives. Soil health is a priority identified in the Minnesota’s Climate Action Framework.


BWSR is the state soil and water conservation agency, and it administers programs that prevent sediment and nutrients from entering our lakes, rivers, and streams; enhance fish and wildlife habitat; and protect wetlands. The 20-member board consists of representatives of local and state government agencies and citizens. BWSR's mission is to improve and protect Minnesota's water and soil resources by working in partnership with local organizations and private landowners