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   Supporting Farmers Protecting Water Quality  

AgAssist

North Jersey RC&D, with the support of a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Water Quality Restoration Grant, has created opportunities for farmers in certain watersheds to receive funding for projects and practices that support cleaner water and healthier soils.  The AgAssist Program offers a reimbursement (50-90% depending on practice) toward equipment, supplies, and expenses required to implement a variety of soil health best management practices. 

 

  • WHO IS NORTH JERSEY RC&D:  We are a local non-profit dedicated to fostering agricultural sustainability within Northern New Jersey.
     

  • WHAT IS FUNDED: There are opportunities to receive up to $15,000 for everything from software upgrades that support improved nutrient management, temporary and permanent fence, planter and drill upgrades, and even precision soil sampling services. See below for more information.
     

  • HOW IT WORKS: North Jersey RC&D will provide a partial reimbursement (levels of reimbursement will be determined by practice), contingent upon participants supplying appropriate receipts.  
     

  • WHO IS ELIGIBLE: Farmers within certain watersheds (Neshanic River, Back Brook, Holland Brook and Pleasant Run), regardless of the size or type of their agricultural operation, are eligible for funding. 
     

  • HOW TO APPLY: Complete the online application at the bottom of this form. Submit your application by April 15th, 2021.

 
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Area Eligible for Funding

Areas eligible for funding in 2021 are highlighted in orange on the map below.  Seach for your address using the search bar to determine if your farm is within our focus area. 

 

Funding Opportunities

The North Jersey RC&D AgAssist funding program has a wide variety of opportunities, each with its own separate funding conditions. Applicants can only apply for one opportunity at a time but may submit multiple applications. 

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Education Supporting Sustainable Agriculture

Reimbursement Not to Exceed $3,000;
Participants must supply receipts to be eligible for reimbursement

Eligible expenses include:

  • Scholarships to attend conferences and/or training supporting sustainable agriculture. North Jersey RC&D will offer funding to reimburse registration fees and travel costs.
    Up to 75% of Total Costs

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Software Subscriptions Supporting Sustainable Agriculture

Reimbursement Not to Exceed $3,000;
Participants must supply receipts to be eligible for reimbursement

Eligible expenses include:

  • One-year subscriptions to software that supports sustainable agriculture and/or improved nutrient management.  Examples include Adapt-N, Granular Agronomy, and PastureMap.
    Up to 75% of Total Cost

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Nutrient Management and Soil Testing

Reimbursement Rate: 75% of total costs
Total Reimbursement Not to Exceed $3,000;
Participants must supply receipts to be eligible for reimbursement

Eligible expenses include:

  • Precision Nutrient Sampling of fields with a commitment to use data to inform a precision nutrient application program.

  • Nutrient analysis of soils (standard or comprehensive soil health) on a per-field/region basis with a commitment to follow nutrient recommendations.
     

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Permanent Fence for Livestock Exclusion from Waterways

Reimbursement Rate: 90% of total costs

Total Reimbursement Not to Exceed $15,000;
Participants must supply receipts to be eligible for reimbursement

Eligible expenses include:

Farms that do not have permanent fences excluding livestock from waterways (or whose fence is deteriorating) will be eligible for funding to install new fences.   Fences shall be installed 35’ or greater from the stream center.  Eligible expenses include contactors fees, fence supplies. 

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Supplies Essential to Rotational Grazing / Management Intensive Grazing

Reimbursement Rate: 75% of total costs

Total Reimbursement Not to Exceed $15,000;
Participants must supply receipts to be eligible for reimbursement

Eligible expenses include:

  • Permanent or temporary fence supporting improved rotational grazing.  (Eligible farms must have less than 1.5 Animal Units per Acre, an animal waste management plan, and winter housing and/or sacrifice lot)

  • Energizers complementing permanent or temporary fence installations within a rotational grazing model

  • Waterers (Permanent or Temporary) to support rotational grazing

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Cover Crop Seed Expenses (up to 100 acres)

Reimbursement Rate: Based on the number of acres planted and type of cover crop. 

Total Reimbursement Not to Exceed 100 acres
Participants must supply receipts to be eligible for reimbursement

Eligible expenses include:

  1. Single species cover crops; for producers wishing to plant cereal rye, seed must be planted by October 31st. Consult North Jersey RC&D for other species’ planting dates  ($35/acre, up to 100 acres).

  2. Multi-species cover crop; seeding mix must be planted by September 15th and must include a minimum of three species from at least two plant groups (ie, two small grains and a legume)  ($45/acre, up to 100 acres)

  3. Organic  Cover Crop Seed; for producers wishing to plant cereal rye, seed must be planted by October 31st. Consult North Jersey RC&D for other species’ planting dates  ($50/acre, up to 100 acres).

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Equipment Essential to Conservation Practices Implementation

Reimbursement Rate: 50% of total costs

Total Reimbursement Not to Exceed $15,000
Participants must supply receipts to be eligible for reimbursement

Eligible expenses include:

  • Roller-Crimpers (Contingent upon having multiple years of experience with cover crops)

  • Small No-till Planters (1-2 row units designed for small vegetable operations that commit to implementing reduced tillage practices and cover crop)

  • No-till Drills Upgrades that support improved cover crop establishment.  Farmers must have multiple years of experience with cover crops and commit to increasing cover crop application.

  • No-till Planter Upgrades that support improved no-till implementation with a commitment to increase no-till implementation.

  • No-till Planter Upgrades that support a precision nutrient application or subsoil nutrient application (2x2) with a commitment to reduce overapplication of nutrients or broadcasting of nutrients. 

  • Automatic Shut-offs for Sprayers to prevent overspray

 
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a grant?


A grant is money given for a specific purpose. Unlike a loan, the awarded grant money does not need to be repaid. With the AgAssist grant, the grantee will be partially reimbursed for eligible project expenses.




What is the purpose of the AgAssist grants?


The AgAssist grants have been made available with the purpose of creating opportunities for farmers to implement projects or practices that support cleaner water and healthier soils, including no-till, cover cropping, rotational grazing, and nutrient management.




Who is eligible?


- Large and small farmers in the Neshanic, Back Brook, Holland Brook and Pleasant Run watersheds. See map. Municipalities in this area include East Amwell, Delaware, Raritan, Flemington, Readington, Hillsborough and Branchburg. If you have a tax-assessed farm that falls in the orange area, you’re eligible. - You can also visit https://arcg.is/a4mDX online to see if you are in the eligible area. Enter your address into the search box and see if you fall within the highlighted area. - You may need to zoom out after entering your address. If you received information about AgAssist in the mail, you are likely eligible.




What if I am already using conservation practices that receive funding? Can I still receive funding?


Yes, with the commitment that you are intending to scale up the conservation practices already in place.




How are applicants ranked?


Priority will be given to (1) Cost efficient projects (the potential positive impact on water quality and soil health for the grant money used) and (2) Operations with a highly erodible land (HEL) determination.




Will the AgAssist grants be available again next year?


Not likely. Not likely. These grants are being made possible through Water Quality Restoration grants from NJDEP. Ag-Assist is anticipated to be a one-time opportunity in these watersheds.




What if I’m not selected?


If you are not initially selected for a grant award, you will be placed on a waiting list. If spots open up, North Jersey RC&D will notify applicants from the waiting list.




Who is North Jersey RC&D?


We are a non-profit dedicated to community needs through conservation. North Jersey RC&D focuses on agricultural sustainability, water resource protection, and community development.




How are the grants funded?


The AgAssist grants are being awarded through North Jersey RC&D using New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Water Quality Restoration Grant funding.




What are the steps to receive funding?


(1) Complete the online application, below. If you have questions, you can contanorct Sam Loscalzo at sloscalzo@northjerseyrcd.org (preferred method) or at (908) 574-5368​. (2) North Jersey RC&D will review applications. We may contact eligible applicants via phone to further discuss the AgAssist program. We may also request an on-site farm visit. (3) North Jersey RC&D will follow-up with all applicants to notify them of their grant status. (4) Grant awardees will agree to commitment and sign contract. (5) Grant awardees must purchase equipment, services, and/or educational opportunities and submit receipts for reimbursement to North Jersey RC&D by Oct. 15, 2021. (6) Grant awardees are to submit a short report with pictures or host a field walk. The short report can simply be a short review of the equipment/software/education purchased/etc and any lessons learned. North Jersey RC&D may post your review on our website or social media account with the farmer’s permission. The purpose of the report is to share your experiences with other farmers so that the community can learn from each other. Alternatively, the farmer may host a field walk to allow other farmers to directly see and learn from what has been gained through the grant. This field walk may piggy-back on other events the farmer may already be hosting, such as a tour or field walk held for another organization.




Who should I contact with questions?


You can reach out to Sam Loscalzo at sloscalzo@northjerseyrcd.org (preferred) or (908) 574-5368​ with questions about the program.





 

Funding Timeline

April 15, 2021
Applications due.

 

May 15, 2021
Decisions made and applicants notified of their status via email.

May - October
Awardees purchase eligible equipment or supplies. 

Oct. 15, 2021
Any purchases for the grant must be made and submitted for reimbursement by Oct. 15, 2021. Official receipts must be submitted to North Jersey RC&D by this date. Reimbursements will be made 30 days following submission. 

 

2021-2022
Grantees submit a short (1/2 page) summary discussing the impact of the funding on their operation and any lessons learned.  This information may be shared with other farmers.  Alternatively, farmers may host a field day or write a short blog post. 

 
 
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Complete a short application online to apply, using the link above. 

 

If you have questions or need help completing the application, please contact Sam Loscalzo at sloscalzo@northjerseyrcd.org or (908) 574-5368

-Thank-you