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Frequently Asked Questions

Transforming the Farmer to Consumer Supply Chain Dairy Manure Management Incentive 

Navigating the enrollment process can be complex, and we're here to help. In this FAQ section, you'll find straightforward answers and guidance. Our goal is to support you every step of the way, ensuring you have all the information needed for a smooth and successful enrollment.

 

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Eligibility 

Funding 

Contracting 

GHG Accounting 

How do I know if I am eligible for the Dairy Manure Management Funding Pool?  

Confirm the following:  

  • Your dairy farm is in one of the eligible states.  

  • The practice change you are seeking falls within one of the available practice codes outlined below. Confirm the specifications and requirements of your requested practice code.  

  • The required records have been established with your local FSA office. For more information, utilize the FSA Guide

  • Your farm has not received funding via NRCS for the same practice on the same farm/tract by confirming any and all previous contracts under your FSA Farm Number with your local FSA office. 

What is the definition of underserved farmer for this project?  

 

For the Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities Program, USDA has defined Underserved Status for any producer who has one or more of the following attributes:


These include the five categories of Historically Undeserved Producers (please see this webpage for full definitions):

  • Beginning farmers - less than 10 years of farming experience.

  • Socially disadvantaged farmers - American Indians or Alaskan Natives, Asians, Blacks or African Americans, Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders, and/or Hispanics.

  • Veteran farmers

  • Limited resource farmers - please use this USDA determination tool to determine if you qualify for this designation.

  • Women farmers​

What is the definition of a small farm for this project?  

 

Small farms - an operation with less than $350,000 in annual gross cash farm income.

Can I apply for NRCS programs and this program?  

 

Producers are not allowed to be paid for the same practice on the same acreage by multiple NRCS funding sources such as EQIP, CSP, and CRP and also funded for those practices on that same acreage from the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program (e.g., Transforming the Farmer to Consumer Supply Chain Dairy Manure Management Incentive).

While producers can apply to other NRCS programs and the Transforming the Farmer to Consumer Supply Chain Dairy Manure Management Incentive, producers must only use one of the programs for each practice on the same land. "Double dipping" by using multiple programs is strictly not allowed. 

Which practices are eligible for funding?

 

A minimum of one primary practice code must be selected. Additional primary practice codes and facilitating practices codes can be applied for and stacked together to achieve the desired practice change on the farm. Detailed information and standards for each practice code is available here

                 Primary Practice Codes:                                                               Facilitating Practice Codes:

                • 367 Roof and Covers                                                               • 313 Waste Storage Facility 

                • 528 Prescribed Grazing                                                            • 317 Composting Facility 

                • 590 Nutrient Management                                                        • 382 Fence

                • 592 Feed Management                                                            • 561 Heavy Use Area Protection

                • 632 Waste Separation Facility                                                   • 578 Stream Crossing 

                • E533C Install Variable Frequency Drive(s) on Pump(s)                      • 614 Watering Facility 

                                                                                                               • 634 Waste Transfer 

                                                                                                               • 635 Vegetated Treatment Area 

What do I do if I have an idea for how I want to change the way I handle, store, and implement manure management on my dairy farm, but I don't know if it fits in the practice standards? 

 

We encourage farmers to take the following steps in identifying the appropriate practice code:

  • Complete the Interested Farmer form to be connected with a member of the Carbon A List Team. We are happy to discuss project options and NRCS practice standards at a high level to aid your application development.

  • Review the practice code standard documentation available here for each practice code being applied for before submitting an application. 

  • Seek additional technical support and guidance while developing their application. A list of NRCS technical support advisors is available here. Applicants may also seek support from their local Extension office, dairy cooperative, milk company etc. 

What practices yield the most outcomes and, therefore, the biggest payment? 

 

While NRCS offers a broad suite of voluntary conservation activities, the agency identifies a sub-set as critical to climate change mitigation. When applied appropriately, these activities may deliver quantifiable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and/or increases in carbon sequestration. Many offer co-benefits and ancillary benefits that help operations build climate change resilience while addressing other natural resource concerns such as soil health, water quality, pollinator and wildlife habitat and air quality. Each year a list of Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry (CSAF) Mitigation Activities List is published. The 2024 list is available here

Based on this list and the calculated impact of real-world practice implementation previously made and evaluated, the Transforming to Consumer Supply Chain project has developed the following point system for practices eligible for funding. The practices assigned a higher point value tend to have a larger GHG reduction potential. 

A table of practices eligible for funding and their associated practice codes

When can I apply to this program?

 

The application period for 2024 is January 16th through March 29th, 2024, 11:59 PM PT. An Early-Bird deadline of February 15th, 2024 is available for applicants interested in expediting their application.

If I submit the interested farmer form and/or submit the online application form, am I enrolled in the program for incentive payments?

 

No. However, filling out the Interested Farmer form and/or online application form will prompt a member of the Carbon A List team to contact the individual. 

Farmer
s must submit the online application and be selected to enter the program. The Carbon A List team, along with technical support, will work with the farmer to complete and confirm any additional paperwork and/or practice implementation details. The farmer will then enter into a contractual agreement with Carbon A List for the agreed-upon incentive payments. 

Who can I talk to if they want to learn more about the program?

 

Interested farmers are encouraged to submit the Interested Farmer Form. Once submitted, a member of the Carbon A List team will be in contact to answer any questions and provide support through the application development and submission process. 

What happens after I submit my online application?

 

Below are the steps that will take place once an online application is submitted. 

  1. A member of the Carbon A List team will review the application for completeness. 

  2. The applicant will be informed if the application is deemed complete or if additional information is needed. 

  3. The application submission will be shared with the project's MMRV partner, Sustainable Environmental Consultants (SEC).

    1. At this point, if no farm baseline exists, SEC will contact the applicant to conduct a farm data collection interview to establish a farm baseline.

    2. The applications and proposed practice implementation will then be assessed, and GHG reductions will be calculated. 

  4. A review committee will then convene to review and rank all applications in the pool. 

  5. The applicant will be informed of their acceptance into the program and informed of the incentive funding awarded. 

  6. If required, an Environmental Evaluation: CPA-52 will be completed. 

  7. The applicant will enter a contractual agreement with Carbon A List. 

  8. The applicant will receive the first incentive payment. 

  9. The applicant will be required to continuously engage and report farm data for the remainder of the contract and will receive remaining yearly payments. 

When will applications be reviewed? When can I expect to hear something back?

 

After online application submission, applicants will be informed whether their application has been deemed complete or if additional information is required within 1 week of submission. ​

Applications will be reviewed in two pools: an early-bird pool and a regular submission pool. Applicants can expect to be informed of the status of their acceptance into the program and informed of the incentive funding awarded 4 weeks after their respective pool's submission deadline. The early-bird pool deadline is February 15th, 2024, and the regular submission pool deadline is March 29th, 2024.​

What paperwork is required to apply?

 

Applicants are encouraged to review the offline workbook to prepare their application and gather the required supporting documentation. Section 5 of the application requires the upload of various supporting documents outlined below: 


•  Proof that applicant is authorized to sign on behalf of entity/joint operation (not required for sole proprietorships) 
•  Budget Supporting Documents examples include equipment dealer quotes, engineer/contractor estimates, etc, that          equal the total cost of project implementation. 

•  Copy of established Farm Records with FSA tract, and field numbers in place for all acreage being enrolled
•  Copy of any and all contracts with NRCS & FSA
•  Copy of Form AD-2047 
•  Copy of Form AD-1026

•  Subsidiary Print (example

What is the structure of the incentive payments?

Funding will be allocated based on the environmental impact of practice implementation and the additional application review criteria. The environmental impact will be measured as metric tons of CO2e reduction and calculated by an independent third-party using the data submitted with this application. Projects will be funded based on a project-wide average rate per metric ton of CO2e reduction. Accepted applications may receive up to 100% of the proposed budget. 

Payment terms and timing: 
Up to 91% of project funding will be funded upon execution of a contract with the farmer. The remaining 9% of project funding will be paid in equal installments over the duration of the contracted project (up to 4 years). 

What do the incentive payments pay for?

 

Incentive payments will fund practice changes on farms; no equipment or infrastructure will be funded directly.

 

Example 1: A farm applying to improve their use of nutrients on the farm via the 590 - Nutrient Management practice code will receive funding for improving nutrient utilization, not for the equipment used to improve nutrient utilization. 

Example 2: A farm applying for funding under practice code 632- Waste Separation Facility ​will receive funding for the practice of separating manure into solids and liquids, not the specific equipment or infrastructure required to achieve that practice change. 

Funding received can and should be utilized by the farmer as they see fit to achieve the applied for practice code in accordance with the NRCS standard for that practice. 

When will I find out what % of my practice implementation will be covered? 

 

For a detailed description of the application and enrollment process please review the "How to Apply" section of this FAQ page. In short, applicants can expect to be informed of the status of their acceptance into the program and of the incentive funding awarded 4 weeks after their respective pool's submission deadline. The early-bird pool deadline is February 15th,2024, and the regular submission pool deadline is March 29th, 2024.

I only want to implement this practice if I receive 100% funding. If I apply, do I have to do it anyway? 

 

Applicants are not committed to completing their applied practice implementation until they have signed a contractual agreement with Carbon A List to enroll in this project and receive funds. 

When can I expect to receive my first payment?

 

For a detailed description of the application and enrollment process, please review the "How to Apply" section of this FAQ. 

​In short, the time of an accepted applicant's first payment will depend on the application pool the applicant's submission is reviewed during and if an Environmental Evaluation: CPA-52 is required. The need for a CPA-52 depends on the practices selected and may cause delays in contracting and payment release. Contact a member of the Carbon A List team for updates and estimates on your individual application's timeline. 

Is there a set minimum and maximum funding available per farm?

 

For the Transforming the Farmer to Consumer Supply Chain Project's Dairy Manure Management Incentive- the minimum request for funding per farm is $50,000, and the maximum funding request per farm is $1,000,000.

With who and when do I enter into a contractual agreement?

 

Applicants will enter a multi-year contractual agreement with Carbon A List ending in June 2028. Contractual agreements will be executed after the applicant is confirmed eligible and evaluated, and all review processes, including environmental review, if required, are completed and approved. 

How long is the contract period?

 

Funding for the Transforming the Farmer to Consumer Supply Chain project and the Dairy Manure Management Incentive Funds were granted under the USDA Partnership for Climate Smart Commodities Program. All practice implementation, reporting and contracting will end in June of 2028.

How are the GHG reduction of practice changes calculated?

 

The baseline farm data provided to and authorized to be used by Sustainable Environmental Consultants will be utilized by their team of agronomic specialists to run intervention scenarios for the applied practices. The Cool Farm Tool and/or COMET Planner will be utilized to capture potential GHG reduction. 

How do I establish a GHG baseline for my farm? 

 

If a farm applying for Dairy Manure Management Incentive funding does not have an eligible farm baseline previously calculated by Sustainable Environmental Consultants, they will be required to participate in a farm data collection interview during which the applicant farm must provide the following data required to establish their farm baseline

What happens to the environmental benefits or "credits" produced by my practice change?

 

Each farm participant who receives funding for practices or any other system changes that reduce GHG emissions or sequester carbon will retain the rights, including the underlying farm’s data and environmental assets created throughout the project period. However, participation in this project will require awardees to agree to refrain from selling any environmental assets created by funded practice implementation in any available market through June of 2028 (the length of the project). Participating farms may engage with a supply partner to include these reductions in Scope 3 reporting.  

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