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Requirements for Individual Applicants

Individual Applicants are individuals, businesses, and nonprofits directly engaged in farming, ranching, and/or other forms of land management. To apply for a Healthy Soil Program grant, an Individual Applicant must meet the requirements detailed below. At the bottom of this page, you'll find resources to help you improve your application.

1. Conservation planning with NRCS. The first step an Individual Applicant must take in order to apply for a grant is to complete conservation planning with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Conservation planning reveals the unique strengths and challenges of a particular piece of land, guiding the land manager in designing all aspects of their project to improve soil health. (Learn more about conservation planning from this recorded webinar featuring NRCS, as well as an NRCS customer.)

An Individual Applicant must submit one of these conservation planning documents:

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

NOTE: If you intend to apply for grant funding to implement a bale grazing project, you must submit a bale grazing template completed in cooperation with NRCS. This step is in addition to submitting conservation planning documentation as described above.

Once you have completed conservation planning with NRCS as detailed above, use that information to guide the development of your project idea. Which natural resource concerns identified during conservation planning will your project focus on? Which agricultural/conservation practices will you use to address those resource concerns? What goods and services will you need in order to implement those conservation practices? From which companies will you source those goods and services? What do those goods and services cost?  

Thinking through such questions will help you complete the Healthy Soil Program grant application for Individual Applicants.

As part of the online application, Individual Applicants must upload a completed version of the combined timeline and budget template . Use the template to detail the activities of your project, as well as the associated costs for which you are seeking a Healthy Soil Program grant.

2. Project sponsorship from an SWCD or your tribal government. Before an Individual Applicant submits a Healthy Soil Program grant application, they must secure project sponsorship from either their soil and water conservation district (SWCD) or their pueblo, tribe, or nation. Project sponsorship helps Individual Applicants adhere to their budget and timeline, invoice correctly for reimbursement, report on their grant progress in a timely way, and more.

Be prepared for your SWCD or tribal government to ask for details about your project (conservation planning, the combined timeline and budget template, etc.) before they decide whether to serve as your project sponsor.

As part of the online application, Individual Applicants must upload a Letter of Support template documenting that an SWCD or tribal government has agreed to be their project sponsor.

Additional Resources

The following resources are not required in order for an Individual Applicant to apply for a grant, but NMDA recommends reviewing them in order to improve your application.