Grant programs, like the New Hampshire Conservation Districts Climate Resilience Grant, support farms to become more resilient to impacts of climate change and lower on-farm greenhouse gas emissions.
Since the 1940s, New Hampshire (NH) Conservation Districts have promoted conservation and responsible use of natural and agricultural resources. However, impacts from a changing climate, such as more extreme weather events, more frequent and prolonged droughts, and increased pest pressures are making farm conservation goals harder to reach. In response, the NH Conservation Districts launched a Climate Resilience Grant pilot in 2022. The grant’s mission is to support and empower local farmers in building climate resilience in the Granite State.
Caption: Cows graze in woodlands. | Credit: The Gentiles
Funded projects aim to reduce agricultural emissions, increase carbon sequestration, and improve on-farm climate resilience.
Awards will allow farms to invest in on-farm infrastructure, equipment, and innovative practices that address climate mitigation and adaptation. With conservation goals in mind, this investment in NH’s agricultural sector will support both farm profitability and long-term viability. In its first grant round, the 10 NH Conservation Districts distributed $50,000 in Climate Resilience Grants among twelve recipients:
- Bascom Road Blueberry Farm of Newport
- Boggy Meadow Farm of Walpole
- Brookfield Farm of Walpole
- Gentile Family Homestead of Fitzwilliam
- Green Bough Farm of North Haverhill
- LindenWoods Farm of Durham
- LocaBerry at Emery Farm of Durham
- Meristem Flower Farm of Strafford
- Picadilly Farm of Winchester, Robinson Family Farm of Pittsbury
- Tellman Hill Farm of Whitefield
- Winter Street Farm of Claremont
Funded projects are actively being implemented across the state on a diverse range of farms. Awardee farms include vegetable, fruit, dairy, beef, cut flower, livestock farms, and an equestrian facility.
One awardee is the Gentile Family Homestead, located in Fitzwilliam, NH. The Gentile Family Homestead sells pasture-based beef and pork directly to the community, and manages 24 acres of pasture. Like so many other farmers, the Gentiles have noticed the impacts of climate change on their farm:
“Like most folks in the area, our farm has also been impacted by climate change. In recent years, our property has been challenged by increased instances of drought and we have had to prioritize our water usage. This summer we hired a local well company to deepen our well to gain more access to groundwater on our property, but with large numbers of livestock, water usage is still a concern. The drought this past year also significantly slowed growth in our hayfield.”
Caption: One of the Gentile's son sits with pigs in the barn. | Credit: The Gentiles
As climate change causes increased drought, water conservation will become an increasingly important agricultural climate adaptation.
Using grant funding, the Gentiles plan to install an automatic livestock watering system in the common area of their three season rotational grazing paddocks. The new system will provide fresh water efficiently and effectively to their herd of 25 cattle, while also conserving water during periods of drought. Water waste can occur when dumping and cleaning stock tanks on the farm. The new method of delivering water will limit this form of waste and will help the Gentiles conserve significant amounts of water. The family noted:
“We very much look forward to adding our new cattle watering system to reduce water consumption here on the farm.”
The NH Conservation Districts Climate Resilience Grant is an exciting and accessible opportunity for Granite State farmers to implement a diverse range of projects to support their farms and our climate future. The 10 NH Conservation Districts are pleased to announce a second grant for the NH Conservation Districts Climate Resilience Grant Program. Applications are due February 1, 2023.
Interested in applying?
Contact your local conservation district for more information, or visit their website to view the full Request for Proposals and Application (Cheshire County applicants can apply here). This program is made possible through grants from the You Have Our Trust Fund, The NH Charitable Foundation, and the generosity of community members.
By Benee Hershon, Community Engagement Director, Cheshire County Conservation District