Local Community Group Has Grant Funds for Rangeland Improvement Projects
The Winnett ACES working group (which stands for Agricultural Community Enhancement & Sustainability) was founded in 2016 by residents of Petroleum County, as a grassroots effort to support the health, longevity, and productivity of the local landscape, community, and future generations. ACES has accomplished a great deal in this short time: establishing a local beef-to-school program, hosting continuing education programs for farmers and ranchers, starting the process of building a community center, and developing a conservation grassbank to provide opportunities for young and beginning ranchers.
Now, ACES has received a grant to fund local, on-the-ground rangeland improvement projects in the Musselshell Plains. The purpose of the grant is to help local producers who want to improve their grazing system for the benefit of wildlife, the landscape, and livestock. Projects that may qualify for funding include fencing, developing additional water sources (pipelines and water tanks), and re-seeding of cropland back to grassland. Landowners in Petroleum, Fergus, Musselshell, Garfield, and Rosebud Counties may apply.
This grant was awarded through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Northern Great Plains Initiative, which has also provided funding for similar projects through the Ranchers Stewardship Alliance in north-central Montana. Although the grant comes from a national organization, the local ACES committee is responsible for selecting projects and allocating funds, and landowners who participate can remain anonymous outside of the ACES Conservation Committee, which reviews the applications.
Applications will be accepted anytime over the next 2.5 years, or until funding is exhausted. The Conservation Committee plans to meet at least quarterly to review applications (this timeline may change depending on the number of applications). Funding approval will be determined using a ranking process. Some criteria considered are the scope of the project and the applicant’s willingness to complete landscape monitoring. However, all landowners with an improvement project in the target area are encouraged to apply.
If you are interested in applying, or have questions, please contact the ACES Coordinator, Brent Smith at 406-599-5120 or email@example.com.