Working together, the Alameda County Resource Conservation District (ACRCD) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) are here to assist Ranchers, Farmers, and Land Managers with a variety of conservation best practices and funding! Currently, the ACRCD and NRCS have funding available for specific conservation efforts and look forward to working with you. Let us know which of the current opportunities below is best for you by contacting the person listed under each program.
Audubon Conservation Ranching Program (ACR)
Audubon works with ranchers and ranch managers to develop Habitat Management Plans (HMPs) for their properties to improve habitat quality for rangeland-dependent bird species. In Alameda County, many bird species rely on riparian, oak woodland, and grassland habitats to survive. ACRCD partners with producers to complete a HMP and certify land as bird-friendly. The ACRCD currently has funding to develop one more HMP for a rancher in Alameda County, and our waitlist is open. Contact Owen Sowerwine at (925) 453-3859 or [email protected].
FREE TA is available for urban and small farms in Alameda County. TA includes assistance and recommendations regarding conservation practices such as compost application, cover cropping, water use reduction, reduced tillage, integrated pest management, and more! Historically underserved producers are especially encouraged to make use of this free technical assistance. Contact Colleen Hotchkiss to schedule a site visit at (925) 453-3857 or [email protected].
CA Dept of Food and Ag – Conservation Agriculture Planning Grant Program (CAPGP)
This FREE service provided by the ACRCD will assist farmers and ranchers in developing management plans to guide conservation activities and help position producers to access funding to implement the management practices. Plan options include Carbon Farm Plans, Soil Health Management Plans, Pollinator Habitat Plans, and Fish and Wildlife Habitat Plans. All are consistent with NRCS conservation planning standards. Once completed, the plans will help landowners and ACRCD identify management priorities and guide practice implementation. Contact Ian Howell for more information at (925) 453-3858 or [email protected].
NRCS works one-on-one with producers to develop a conservation plan that outlines conservation practices and activities to help solve on-farm and ranch resource issues. Producers can apply for financial assistance under EQIP to implement practices and activities in their conservation plan that lead to cleaner water and air, healthier soil, and better wildlife habitat, all while improving their agricultural operations. Examples include the restoration of livestock ponds for wildlife and livestock, installation of livestock water systems, cross-fencing to improve livestock distribution, hedgerows to improve pollinator habitat, and more! EQIP helps producers make conservation work for them. Contact Rose Collins at (925) 453-3869 or [email protected].
If you are already taking steps to improve the condition of the land, chances are, CSP can help you find new ways to meet your goals. NRCS works one-on-one with producers to develop a conservation plan that outlines and enhances existing efforts, using new conservation practices or activities, based on management objectives for your operation. Producers implement practices and activities in their conservation plan that expand on the benefits of cleaner water and air, healthier soil, and better wildlife habitat, all while improving their agricultural operations. The NRCS is increasing the minimum annual payment for agricultural producers participating in the CSP to $4,000 starting this fiscal year 2024 (which began October 1, 2023). While NRCS accepts applications for this program year-round, interested applicants should apply by the first application review period, March 22, 2024. Contact Rose Collins at (925) 453-3869 or [email protected].
Livestock Pond Restoration
ACRCD and NRCS continue to partner to offer incentives to producers to restore their existing livestock ponds, install livestock water systems to have a direct benefit to livestock ponds, and conduct other voluntary conservation practices through the Alameda County Wildlife-Friendly Pond Restoration Program. This successful program provides producers with streamlined permitting assistance, project planning and design, cost-share assistance, engineering/biological assistance during project implementation, and potential monitoring (including eDNA). During the program’s almost 20 years of service ~70 wildlife-friendly stock ponds have been restored in Alameda County. Is your pond next? Contact Farley Connelly at (925) 453-3860 or [email protected].
HSP Block Grant
Apply today! New this year, the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Healthy Soils Program (HSP) is being offered regionally through block grants. ACRCD is a block grant technical service provider – we can assist farmers and ranchers with applications to request funding. Individual agricultural producers can request up to $200,000 in funding to implement a variety of soil-building conservation practices. Applications will be reviewed each month in early 2024 until funding runs out. ACRCD is pleased to offer FREE technical assistance to support planning, monitoring, and implementation of HSP Block Grant projects.
Producers are encouraged to apply early. Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers, as well as SB 535 and AB 1550 Priority Populations, should apply, as 25% of the funding is prioritized for these individuals. ACRCD is pleased to offer free technical assistance to support planning, monitoring, and implementation of HSP Block Grant projects. ACRCD staff will be there to support you every step of the way!
Examples of HSP Block Grant Eligible Practices
|Eligible Agricultural System(s)
|Cropland, Orchard/Vineyard, Grazing Land
|Cropland, Orchard/Vineyard, Grazing Land
|Residue & Tillage Management: No Till
More examples at https://acrcd.org/resources/cdfa-healthy-soils-program/
Contact Owen Sowerwine at (925) 453-3859 or [email protected].
The Alameda County Compost for Agriculture Pilot Program (ACCAPP)
The ACCAPP provides technical and financial assistance to agricultural producers to use compost on their land. Compost must be purchased from a licensed compost facility in California. Compost users choose the compost best suited to their needs. This program offers incentives that can cover up to 100% of the material and delivery costs. To fill out the simple application click the link below.
PROGRAM ELIGIBILITY AND ASSISTANCE OPTIONS
|Compost for Agriculture:
|Commercial agriculture operations
|Community gardens, non-profits, historically underserved farmers and ranchers[i]
|Must manage ground for agricultural purposes in Alameda County
|20% of compost & delivery costs, or $10 per ton
|100% of compost & delivery costs, or $60 per ton
|Technical assistance with planning compost use, selecting material, etc.
Contact the Alameda County Resource Conservation District (ACRCD) for more information and to fill out a simple application form. To be eligible for the Program, participants must sign an agreement with ACRCD before any compost is purchased. ACRCD can help you consider your objectives, select a compost product, and asses your eligibility for any other funding programs.
[i] Includes (1) Limited resource farmer or rancher, (2) Beginning farmer or rancher, (3) Socially disadvantaged farmer or rancher, (4) Veteran farmer or rancher.
Full definitions at: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/getting-assistance/underserved-farmers-ranchers
Contact Ian Howell at (925) 453-3858 or [email protected].