April 17, 2024

Contact: Mary Juhl; mary.juhl@state.mn.us, 612-358-5733

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR) is awarding a total of $2.1 million in grant funding to local governments to support climate-smart agricultural practices such as those beneficial to soil health.

Grant recipients are the Redwood SWCD, the Renville County SWCD, the Stevens SWCD, the Kandiyohi SWCD, a partnership between the East Otter Tail SWCD and the Wadena SWCD, and a partnership between the Fillmore County SWCD and Houston County.

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, improve soil health, reduce greenhouse gas emissions 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.

“This pilot program offers attractive incentives that will allow producers to try climate-smart practices in a low-risk setting,” BWSR Executive Director John Jaschke said. “Our goal is to prove the value of these practices while putting more conservation on the ground.”

Landowners who live in counties that are receiving funding will be eligible to apply for the $100 per acre or animal unit incentives. Contact your SWCD office for more information and to learn more about when applications will be accepted if you live in Redwood, Renville, Stevens, Kandiyohi, Otter Tail, Wadena, Fillmore or Houston counties.

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 Minnesota’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