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FY25 Requirements for Individual Applicants

The most recent (Fiscal Year 2025) grant application cycle for Individual Applicants closed April 26, 2024. Late applications will not be accepted. 

The process outlined below is intended to help Individual Applicants prepare for the next (Fiscal Year 2026) grant-application cycle. Please note that application requirements and documents are subject to change between grant-application cycles.

Individual Applicants are individuals, businesses, and nonprofits directly engaged in farming, ranching, and/or other forms of land management in New Mexico. To apply for a Healthy Soil Program grant, an Individual Applicant must follow the steps below by the deadlines noted. All completed applications must be submitted online by April 26, 2024 at 12 p.m. (noon) Mountain Time.

Learn more by reading the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Individual Applicants. For application tips and Healthy Soil Program updates – as well as soil health news and events – subscribe to our weekly newsletter via the form at the bottom of the Healthy Soil Program web page.

January 16, 2024 pre-application webinar: See the Individual Applicant webinar slides or watch the subtitled recording.

March 5, 2024 application demonstration webinar: See the Individual Applicant webinar slides or watch the subtitled recording.

Step 1. Identify the partners you must work with in order to apply for a grant from NMDA’s Healthy Soil Program.

open field and marsh with a cloudy sky over them.

  1. Identify the nearest office of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). See Step 2 to learn more.
  2. Identify the soil and water conservation district (SWCD) in which you reside or the pueblo, tribe, or nation of which you are a member. The earlier you involve your SWCD or tribal nation, the better your chances of putting forward a strong, well-informed grant application. See Step 5 to learn more.

Step 2. Complete conservation planning with NRCS. Deadline to complete this step: March 22, 2024 at 5 p.m. Mountain Time.

orange butterfly on the banner of the natural resources conservation service website.

Conservation planning is the process of inventorying a piece of land to assess its current state and full potential. Conservation planning guides the land manager in designing all aspects of their Healthy Soil Program project to improve soil health. Learn more by reviewing the slides from our October 18, 2023 webinar all about NRCS conservation planning and how that process fits into NMDA’s Healthy Soil Program.

Conservation planning with NRCS can be completed at any time of year. NMDA strongly recommends that you contact NRCS well before the March 22 deadline to conduct conservation planning.

Make an appointment to have an NRCS conservation planner come to the land you manage. You will work collaboratively with that person to complete conservation planning as required for Individual Applicants.   

Before your appointment with NRCS, use Web Soil Survey to create either a soil map (for cropland) or Ecological Site Description (ESD) map (for rangeland). Watch this step-by-step Web Soil Survey tutorial from NMDA’s Healthy Soil Program co-lead Dean Bruce.

The end result of your appointment with the NRCS conservation planner is to have conservation planning documents in hand. To apply for a Healthy Soil Program grant, an Individual Applicant must submit one  of these conservation planning documents:

A.  a full conservation plan issued by NRCS; or
B.  a conservation planning template completed by NRCS

NOTE: If you intend to apply for Healthy Soil Program grant funding to conduct bale grazing, you must submit the FY25 bale grazing template completed in cooperation with NRCS. This step is in addition to submitting conservation planning documentation as described above.

Step 3. Use your conservation planning documents to develop your project idea.

a woman wearing a red shirt writing in a notebook.

Once you have completed conservation planning with NRCS as detailed above, use that information to guide the development of your project idea. 

  • Which soil health-related natural resource concerns identified during conservation planning will your project focus on?
  • Which soil health principles will best address those resource concerns?
  • Which agricultural/conservation practices will best put those soil health principles into action?
    • Consult our resource concern guide sheets (cropland and rangeland) to help you answer the questions above.
  • Which of those agricultural/conservation practices can be implemented between August and May (the grant term for NMDA’s Healthy Soil Program)?
  • What goods and services will you need in order to implement those agricultural/conservation practices?
  • From which companies will you source those goods and services?
  • What are the actual costs of those goods and services?

Thinking through such questions – and conducting a bit of research, especially to identify the sellers (and costs) of specific goods and services – will help you complete the Healthy Soil Program grant application for Individual Applicants.

Step 4. Work on the online grant application – including the all-important timeline and budget.

individual applicant timeline and budget template.

The online grant application for NMDA’s Healthy Soil Program (and other grant programs at NMDA) will be available at First-time users must create an account (login ID + password).

As part of the online application, Individual Applicants must upload several documents. One critical document is the FY25 timeline and budget template. Use the template to: 1) detail the activities of your project, as well as when each activity will occur; and 2) document the associated goods and services – and their actual costs – you’re seeking Healthy Soil Program funding to purchase.

Step 5. Secure project sponsorship from your SWCD or your tribal nation. Deadline to complete this step: this will vary. Contact your Project Sponsor well before the Healthy Soil Program grant application deadline to understand their particular timeframes.

two individuals shaking hands in a field.

Project sponsorship allows Individual Applicants fiscal access to NMDA’s Healthy Soil Program grant funding. Project Sponsors help Individual Applicants adhere to their timeline and budget, invoice correctly for reimbursement, report on their grant progress in a timely way, and more.

Only two types of parties can serve as an Individual Applicant’s Project Sponsor:

  • The New Mexico soil and water conservation district (SWCD) in which you reside
  • Your New Mexico-based pueblo, tribe, or nation

As part of the online application, Individual Applicants must upload a completed version of the FY25 Letter of Support template documenting that their SWCD or tribal nation has agreed to be their project sponsor. It is important to contact your Project Sponsor early in the application process to inform them of your intent to apply for a Healthy Soil Program grant.

Project Sponsors typically formalize their support during a board meeting. Many Project Sponsors require Individual Applicants to attend a board meeting in order to present their projects and formally seek sponsorship. When you seek project sponsorship, your SWCD or tribal nation likely will request to see your conservation planning documentation and a near-final draft of your online application, including the all-important timeline and budget. The more cohesive and developed these items are, the more likely the SWCD or tribal nation is to sponsor your project.

Step 6. Finalize and submit your online grant application. Deadline to complete this step: April 26, 2024 at 12 p.m. (noon) Mountain Time.

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Take the time to review your application. Re-read each application question and your answer to it. Ensure that you have uploaded all of the required information (see checklist below) where noted in the Individual Applicant grant application at Incomplete applications will not be considered for funding.

Checklist to ensure an Individual Applicant’s Healthy Soil Program grant application is complete and ready for submission:

  • Project site images
  • Soil map (for projects on cropland) and/or Ecological Site Description (ESD) map (for projects on rangeland) created using Web Soil Survey
  • NRCS conservation plan --or-- conservation planning template (cropland or rangeland) completed by NRCS
  • Bale grazing template (required if bale grazing is a component of your project) completed by NRCS
  • Timeline and budget template
  • Letter of Support template signed by your Project Sponsor
  • Supporting items (optional)