Advancing U.S. Pork Sustainability Grant - Pork Checkoff
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Advancing U.S. Pork Sustainability Grant

The Advancing U.S. Pork Sustainability grant is a new opportunity for farmers in Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri to receive technical support and incentives for adopting climate-smart agriculture practices.

Grant Supports Climate-Smart, On-Farm Practices

The five-year, $35 million grant program is administered by the National Pork Board (NPB) and six collaborating organizations through USDA’s Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities program.

The grant program will provide technical assistance and financial incentives for the adoption of the following practices:

  • cover crops
  • livestock integration (in cover crops)
  • conservation tillage (no till)
  • manure management
  • edge-of-field and perennial grass buffers
  • in-barn LED lighting

Get started with your on-farm report today to explore funding support for these practices.

How It Works In 5 Steps

1. Eligible producers in Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri sign up for a Pork Cares Farm Impact Report.

2. Producers work with NPB’s trusted partner, Eocene Environmental Group complete their report. An Eocene technician — such as an agronomist and livestock specialist will assist in collecting the on-farm data needed for the report.

3. Producers decide on an implementation plan for climate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices on their farm.

4. Producers will receive technical assistance in adopting CSA practices from Eocene, Ducks Unlimited and Millborn Seeds. Financial training will be provided by Farm Credit Council.

5. Eocene captures data regarding impact of CSA practices through the Pork Cares Farm Impact Reports (all data remains with the producer and is kept secure).

Request a Pork Cares Farm Impact Report for your farm to get started.

Interested in Cost Share Opportunities?

By starting your on-farm Report now, you will be best positioned for new cost-sharing opportunities.

We’re always working to build more partnerships and cost-share opportunities to support you. Your business matters, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.


Manure Management

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What is entailed in the double pumping practice?

This practice entails a second pumping of agitated slurry from a manure storage structure within 12 months. 

Can manure be applied via drag line instead of hauling?

Yes. Both are eligible under the second pumping practice. 

Can I pump to another storage facility and still be eligible?

No, the grant requires pumping from a manure storage structure to a field, as the climate-smart benefit comes from the manure being held in the soil. 

What if a grower has not consistently done a second pumping over the years?

New is defined as implementation ‘within the last two years’ or never before on acres/ in barns that historically have not been engaged with CSC practices. CSC practices can be stacked but not double counted with other federal programs. This grant is focused on helping the early majority invest and take up CSC practices. We want to recognize the good work of innovators and early adopters through being able to show the added value within the market place through increased data from the increase of acres/ barns within the NPB Pork Cares Farm Impact reports on national and state level. USDA is still providing further guidance on this issue. 

If a producer applied spring manure in 2022 and the five consecutive years after, will they receive payments for all five years?

The grant program goal is to incent consistency in pumping more than once per 12 months, so program participants will be eligible for payments each of the five years, which could total $62,500Producers who applied manure in 2022 are eligible under the definition of “new.”   

Who receives payment, the manure supplier, field owner, or manure applicator?

If not one in the same, the producer of the manure is the eligible candidate for the grant financial assistance. 

Energy Saving Lighting

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Can LED lights installed in other farm buildings be included in the grant?

In this grant, implementation costs will only be covered for new LED lights installed in barns that house pigs. However, you may be able to receive a discount for buying in bulk to reduce the cost for installation in other buildings.

Does this grant cover replacement of existing LED lights or only conversion from traditional fixtures to LED lighting?

In this grant, implementation costs will only be covered for new LED lights that are replacing current fixtures such as incandescent, halogen, HID, or T12 fluorescent. However, you may be able to receive a discount for buying in bulk to reduce the cost of replacement LED lights. 

Buffer Planting

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How long are producers required to keep buffer plantings in place?

The grant program requires buffer plantings to remain in place for 10 years to ensure the greenhouse gas benefits are realized. 

So I’m locked into a 10 year contract?

The grant contract for planting buffers is five years but we are asking for your commitment for the full length of the practice lifespan (10 years). 

Cover Crop Planting

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Will cover crops planted in fall 2022 be retroactively covered?

Yes, if they are new acres put into cover cropping. There is a two-year lookback in terms of defining new acres. 

Will this year’s cover crop seed be eligible for reimbursement, even if I have been planting cover crops for five years?

No. This program is designed to encourage the implementation of new climate smart practices on operations.  

Why is the per-acre payment for cover crops per acre lower than EQIP or other programs?

The goal of the program is to provide competitive opportunities, but is not focused on being the leading opportunity for cover crops.  The Advancing U.S. Pork Sustainability grant is unique because it provides a number of benefits to producers, including completion of the Pork Cares Farm Impact report to identify and provide support for multiple practicesThe grant is focused on supporting long term sustainability of the pork industry and feed supply and providing baseline reports to demonstrate the industry’s progress.  

If I commit 200 acres of my 800 total acres to cover crops, do I have to plant cover crops on the same 200 acres each year or can it be just 200 acres across the entire operation?

Farmers will be able to decide where it fits best, as a running balance, especially with manure application schedules.  

For example, if committing 60 acres each year, you will get paid for 180 acres in first three years (could be 40 acres one year, then balance out to 80 the next year), committed to up to 120 acres in year four and five.

What defines new? What’s stopping someone from ripping out cover crops for a year to qualify?

This is defined as a minimum of two years/two rotations without cover crop on that acre. USDA will be able to look back on previous years to determine what was standard practice on your farm.  

Do cover crops have to overwinter?

No. Cover crops should be applied based on what works for your operation, in line with NRCS standards.

Will I get paid every year of planting for 5 years?

Planting is required for five years. Plan is to pay $40/$50 per acre for the first three years. In years four and five, technical assistance will still be provided

How many acres can I enroll?

Minimum of 100 acres operated, or 50% of acre total. Maximum of 1,000. 

Livestock Integration

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What livestock are eligible within the livestock Integration practice?

Any livestock integration will be accepted in the program. Cattle are expected to be the primary livestock, with equine eligible as well. 

How long do livestock have to be on the acres to be considered integrated?

All practices must follow NRCS standard guidelines.

Conservation Tillage

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Why is no till only covered instead of reduced / strip till?

The project team reviewed a long list of current climate-smart practices and chose a select few with strong evidence for return on investment. Therefore no-till has been included, as the practice provides more sustainable benefits than reduced till.