Recent News

NEWS RELEASE                                                   Contact:

USDA Announces $5 Million in Wetland Mitigation Banking Program Funds

Albuquerque, N.M., May 5, 2020 – The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced today the availability of up to $5 million for wetland mitigation banks. This funding through the Wetland Mitigation Banking Program is available to help conservation partners develop or establish mitigation banks to help agricultural producers maintain eligibility for USDA programs.

For additional information, please click on the file below regarding Wetland Mitigation ...

This competitive grants program helps states, local governments and other qualified partners develop wetland mitigation banks to restore, create or enhance wetland ecosystems.

Applications must be submitted through by 11:59 p.m. ET on July 6, 2020

NRCS is accepting proposals from eligible Indian Tribes, state and local units of government, for-profit entities and nongovernmental organizations.


News Release                            Contact:

USDA Extends Deadline to Submit Project Proposals for On-Farm Demonstrations 

and Alternative Funding Arrangements

Albuquerque, N.M., April 20, 2020 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service 

(NRCS) announced it will extend deadlines for project proposal submissions to 

May 29 for On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials and the Regional Conservation

 Partnership Program (RCPP) Alternative Funding Arrangements (AFAs). Originally 

deadlines were mid-May, but NRCS wanted to provide additional time because of the

 coronavirus pandemic. “NRCS recognizes the hardship that this unprecedented time is

 causing our partners and others,” said Xavier Montoya, NRCS State Conservationist in

 New Mexico. “We want to offer them additional time to take full advantage of these

 opportunities to propose bold and transformative projects to advance agriculture and 

conservation for present and future generations of agricultural producers and private 

forest landowners.”  NRCS will invest up to $50 million in fiscal year 2020 to fund 

AFAs, a unique and partner-led approach to address natural resource concerns at local, 

regional and landscape scales. NRCS is authorized to fund up to 15 projects in which 

partners will receive greater liberty to manage an RCPP project and the associated 

relationships with participating producers and landowners. Funding for projects will 

range from $250,000 to $10 million.

Through AFAs, approved project partners can work directly with farmers, ranchers and 

private forest landowners to carry out RCPP projects, instead of implementing projects 

through NRCS producer contracts and landowner easements.

The 2018 Farm Bill highlighted some project types that are particularly suited to AFAs:

• Projects that use innovative approaches to leverage the federal investment in 


• Projects that deploy a pay-for-performance conservation approach; and,

• Projects that seek large-scale infrastructure investments that generate benefits for 

agricultural producers and nonindustrial private forest owners.

Additionally, NRCS will invest up to $25 million in On-Farm Trials in 2020, which are a

 component of the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG). This investment will help 

support the adoption and evaluation of innovative conservation approaches on 

agricultural land. This includes up to $10 million for the Soil Health Demonstration 

Trials. On-Farm Trials funding is designed to offer producers, through partners, 

technical and financial assistance compensation for any risks associated with carrying 

out new conservation practices, systems and approaches at the farm level, including the 

environmental, financial and social (to the extent possible) impacts of carrying them 


NRCS is seeking proposals that address at least one of the following four On-Farm Trial main priorities:

• Irrigation Management Technologies;

• Precision Agriculture Technologies and Strategies;

• Management Technologies and Strategies; and

• Soil Health Demonstrations Trials.

For more information about On-Farm Trials, please visit NRCS’s On-Farm Trials webpage. For more information on the RCPP program and how to apply, visit the RCPP web page.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.


News Release                            Contact:

USDA Announces $15 Million for Conservation Innovation Grants

WASHINGTON, April 28, 2020 –The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today a $15 million investment to help support the adoption of innovative conservation approaches on agricultural lands. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting proposals through June 29, 2020, for national Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG). CIG projects inspire creative problem-solving solutions that boost production on farms, ranches and private forests and improve natural resources.

This year’s priorities are water reuse, water quality, air quality, energy and wildlife habitat.

“Through Conservation Innovation Grants, we’re able to co-invest with partners on the next

 generation of agricultural conservation solutions,” said Xavier Montoya, State Conservationist

 in New Mexico. “Conservation Innovation Grants have helped spur new tools and technologies 

to conserve natural resources, build resilience in producers’ operations and improve their bottom

 lines. This year will be the first time we are offering water reuse as a priority, and we’re excited

 to see how these projects play a role in USDA’s broader strategy for water reuse on agricultural


More Information

NRCS’s CIG program is identified in the federal government’s National Water Reuse Action Plan as an opportunity to support development of innovative projects that focus on water reuse on private lands. Read this April 28 post on the USDA Blog for how USDA is working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Interior, Department of Energy and others to promote water reuse across sectors.

CIG applications must be submitted through by 11:59 p.m. EDT on June 29, 2020. A webinar for potential applicants is scheduled for 3 p.m. EDT on May 13, 2020. Information on how to participate in the webinar is posted on the CIG website.

CIG also contributes to the Agriculture Innovation Agenda: a USDA initiative to align resources, programs, and research to position American agriculture to better meet future global demands. Specifically, USDA is working to stimulate innovation so that American agriculture can achieve the goal of increasing production by 40 percent while cutting the environmental footprint of U.S. agriculture in half by 2050.

For more information on CIG, click on the file CIG APF New Release - 042820.pdf file at the bottom of this page or visit or contact your local NRCS field office.  



Jimbo Williams, President

Debbie Hughes, Executive Director


Contact:  Tony Delfin, Communications Coordinator, (505) 280-2089

April 16, 2020

New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts Awarded Over $2 Million from NRCS for an Eastern New Mexico Prairie Grassland Initiative

CARLSBAD, NM – Today, the New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts (NMACD) announced that their proposal to receive a fiscal year 2019 Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) award from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) received funding. NRCS states that $2,025,974 will be made available for projects. “I’m excited to announce the first RCPP awards under the 2018 Farm Bill,” said Xavier Montoya, State Conservationist in New Mexico. “RCPP is effective because it draws on the local knowledge and networks already here to fuel projects that will deliver the most conservation impact. Through partnerships, we can deliver innovative, large-scale projects that improve natural resource concerns in our state.”

According to NMACD President Jimbo Williams, “projects associated with these funds aim to increase suitable and occupied habitat to meet critical habitat needs of Lesser Prairie-chicken.”  Habitat improvements will occur through chemical and physical management of Mesquite patches across five priority areas identified using a mesquite density model and a study by scientists at New Mexico State University.

The Lesser Prairie-chicken is listed as threatened under the federal Endgangered Species Act and the birds do better in areas in eastern New Mexico where Mesquite has been managed.  These project areas are located in the Prairie Grasslands Region in eastern New Mexico.  NMACD will begin working with local soil and water conservations districts and agricultural producers during May and June to begin implementing the projects.  Information on the New Mexico Association of Conservation Districts is available online at

Partnerships and Passion ~ the Pathway to Conservation



2019 Length of Service Awards were given during the NMACD Annual Conference held in Region 4 in Raton, NM, October 29-31.  The names of Supervisors who received these awards are contained in the file at the bottom of this page.  Awards for those in attendance were presented by Jimbo Williams, our newly-elected President of NMACD for 2019-2020.  



Eloy Olivas, 10 Yrs, Upper Chama        Willard for Steve Janos, 30 Yrs., Sierra        Dusty Hunt, 30 Yrs., Grant


  Jim Grider, 20 Yrs., Carrizozo         Richard Montoya for Fred Padilla,         Tommy Wallace, 25 Yrs.,

                                                          15 Yrs., Lava                                          Canadian River

Sergio Beltran for Steve Haines, 

20 Yrs., Central Valley


This Grant SWCD article recently appeared in an NACD Forestry Notes.  For the full story, please click on the link below:

Grant SWCD and Partners Help Restore NM Forestlands

Good work, Grant SWCD, Rebecca Benevidez, Project Manager and partners!  Great job on work badly needed in the Gila National Forest!

NMACD Admin,
May 5, 2020, 11:56 AM
NMACD Admin,
May 7, 2020, 7:52 AM