Apply to join!

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS

Please read through the below steps to find out what you will need to provide in the application.  Please check the documents under Additional Resources for more information, or email us.

Instructions


Welcome!  We are thrilled you are interested in joining the Alliance to Advance Climate-Smart Agriculture.  Below you will find instructions for completing the application for your state.
  1. Your farm must exist within an eligible state, and an eligible county.  This may be different than the Primary Applicant address, as your farm location may differ from your primary residence.  If you do not live in an eligible county but you operate a farm in one, please still apply.  If your operation does not exist within an eligible county, you do not qualify for the Alliance.
 Note: Not all states will participate in Year 2.  Please contact your district to be informed if your county will become eligible in subsequent years. 

2. There are questions in this application that will be hidden until you select the appropriate box, for example if you choose “Yes” for adding a Co-Applicant or an Additional Farm, you will then be prompted to enter those details.  If you choose “No”, you will move to the next step in the application.

3. If you wish to submit a hard copy, please download the application and follow the submission instructions.  If you require help, please reach out to your local district who can assist in completing the form.

Instructions


  • Address
    • Please enter the primary address of the primary applicant.
 Note: The primary address refers to the applicant’s residential address, as would appear on your license.  This is the address that Virginia Tech will use to issue payments, if enrolled.  It may differ from the address of the farm(s) on this application. 
  • Email
    • An email address is required to submit an online application.  If you do not have an email address, please download a hard copy of the application and mail it to Virginia Tech at the address listed on the form.  It is highly recommended that you have an email address in order to login to the Applicant Dashboard and view your application status and additional resources.
A hard copy of the application will be available soon.  If you require help, please reach out to your local district who can assist in completing the form.

Instructions


  • Farm #1 Address
    • Enter the farm address.
 Note: Please enter the location of the farm operation.  It may differ from the primary address you entered previously; the primary address is what Virginia Tech will use to issue payments, if enrolled. 
  • Type of Operation
    • Enter the business structure for Farm #1, e.g. Sole Proprietorship, LLC, LLLP, etc.
  • Enter the FSA number for Farm #1
    • Optional.  Please provide the FSA number if you are assigned one; if you do not have an FSA number, please reach out to your local Farm Service Agency county office to obtain one. .  A verified FSA number is required for enrollment in the Alliance; however, if you do not currently have an FSA number, you may still submit an application.
    • If “Yes”, you will be prompted to enter the FSA number.  This is required.
    • If you enter the FSA number, you will be asked to submit the tract numbers where you will install the climate-smart practices under the Alliance.  This is optional.  Keep in mind that if you are accepted into the Alliance, you will be required to submit tract numbers during enrollment.
  • Planned Conservation Practices
    • Once your address is entered, the Planned Conservation Practices for your state will appear.  Please enter the intended practice (see the Approved Practices Guide under Additional Resources), the intended commodity, and the number of acres or animal units you plan to enroll.
 Note: Some practices will be paid per acre and others will be paid per animal unit.  The allowed unit will automatically populate based on the practice you choose. 
  • Add Co-Applicant
    • As Primary Applicant, you are allowed to apply with up to (2) Farm Service Agency (FSA) numbers.  Each distinct farm may include a co-applicant, if you wish to divide the share of payment between you and another operator on your farm.  You will be asked to provide the co-applicants name, email, phone number, primary address*, and their share of payment.  The total must equal 100%, and will be automatically totaled at the bottom of the page.
    • If you are applying with a co-applicant, please be aware of the following:
      • One co-applicant is allowed per FSA number, for a maximum of two co-applicants per application (if you are applying with two unique FSA numbers);
      • The same co-applicant may be added to both farms;
      • You will be asked to choose the Share of Payment between the Primary Applicant and the Co-Applicant for each unique farm.  This must equal 100% and will be automatically totaled at the end of the page.
  • Add Additional Farm
    • As Primary Applicant, you are allowed to apply with up to two distinct farms, under two distinct Farm Service Agency (FSA) numbers.  Each farm has a maximum combined total of 160, split between Acres or Animal Units however you choose.  If you choose to add an additional farm, your total allowable total is 320 Acres or Animal Units.
      • If “Yes”, you will move to Farm #2 to enter the same details as above.
 Note: Farm #2 must have a different FSA number than Farm #1. 
      • If “No”, you will move to Evaluation Tools to continue the application.

Instructions


As Primary Applicant, you are allowed to apply with up to two distinct farms, under two distinct Farm Service Agency (FSA) numbers.  Each farm has a maximum combined total of 160, split between Acres or Animal Units however you choose.  If you choose to add an additional farm, your total allowable total is 320 Acres or Animal Units.

This step is optional.  Please see the Farm Information tab for detailed instructions.

 Note: If you select “No” to “Would you like to add an additional farm?” on Step 2, you will skip this step. 

Instructions


The Alliance to Advance Climate-Smart Agriculture is supported by USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities, and led by the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.  As part of this pilot, research faculty from Virginia Tech will collect self-reported data from participating farms and ranches to determine the greenhouse gas benefit of climate-smart agriculture.

All enrolled participants will self-report and self-verify the installed practice and commodity using COMET-Planner.  The Carbon Management Evaluation Tool (COMET) is an evaluation tool designed to provide the estimated greenhouse gas impacts of conservation practices, without extensive on-site sampling.  Enrolled producers will be required to submit their COMET-Planner data to the Alliance through the Producer Dashboard.

Virginia Tech will select up to 10% of applicants to participate in COMET-Farm.  Producers who choose to report through COMET-Farm will be compensated an additional $1,000 per year for the estimated 35 hours to collect and input historical farm data.

 Note: This is optional, and selecting “Yes” does not guarantee your enrollment in COMET-Farm.  You may opt out during enrollment. 

Instructions


In the spirit of the Justice40 Initiative, at least 40% of enrolled producers will be from historically underserved operations. Qualifying producers will receive a $25 equity payment per acre or animal unit, with a payment of $500 provided to operations with fewer than five acres. Operations with fewer than five acres and operated by an underserved producer will receive a minimum total payment of $625.


If applicable, please select the group that best describes you.

 Note: If you qualify for more than one of the below, please select the option that you believe best describes you and your operation.  There is no “benefit” of deciding between one designation over the other. Identifying yourself as an historically underserved  farmer is enough to qualify for the equity payment. 

The Alliance uses the USDA definitions for Historically Underserved Farmers and Ranchers, including:

Beginning Farmer or Rancher

  • An individual who has not operated a farm, ranch, for more than 10 consecutive years.
  • To qualify, an individual must provide substantial day-to-day labor and management of the operation, consistent with the practices in the county or State where the operation is located.
  • A legal entity or joint operation can be considered BFR if all members individually qualify.

Limited Resource Farmer or Rancher

An individual who has direct or indirect gross farm sales not more than the current indexed value in each of the previous 2 years, and:

  • has a total household income at or below the national poverty level for a family of four in each of the previous 2 years; or
  • has a total household income less than 50 percent of the county median household income in each of the previous 2 years
  • A legal entity or joint operation can be considered BFR if all members individually qualify.

To determine if you qualify as Limited Resource Producer, USDA provides an online self-determination tool: https://lrftool.sc.egov.usda.gov/DeterminationTool.aspx?fyYear=2024.

Socially Disadvantaged Farmer or Rancher

Members of a group who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice because of their identity as members of that group without regard to their individual qualities.

We acknowledge that the term “socially disadvantaged” is not how individuals who fit the definitions below identify themselves. In this guide, it is included out of necessity as a legal term used in the Farm Bill to outline specific incentives, priorities, and set asides for underserved producers within USDA programs.

  • Includes the following groups:
    • Women
    • American Indian or Alaska Native
    • Asian
      Black or African American
    • Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
    • Hispanic

A legal entity or legal operation can be considered Socially Disadvantaged if at least 50 percent ownership in the business is held by Socially Disadvantaged individuals.

 Note: Qualifying as a Historically Underserved Farmer and Rancher, and receiving the additional equity payment, applies only to the Primary Applicant. 
USDA HUFR Guide

Instructions


If you required assistance from an Alliance state partner to complete this application, please list their information in this section.  This could include, but is not limited to, assistance from your local soil and water conservation district, extension service, or equity partner.

Instructions


 Note: All boxes must be checked in order to complete and submit your application.  In order to apply for the Alliance, you must agree to all of the below checkboxes.  If you have concerns or questions, please email us. 

Eligibility Verification (1/10)
▸I understand that enrollment is not guaranteed and is subject to funding and eligibility verification.

Land Ownership (2/10)
▸I consent to have control of the land for the term of the contract.

USDA Conservation Programs (3/10)
▸Visit USDA Conservation Programs for a complete list of USDA Conservation programs.
I consent the land enrolled and the practice(s) requested will not also be enrolled in a USDA Conservation program or other program associated with the USDA’s Partnerships for Climate Smart Commodities sponsored grant program.

Cost-Share Programs (4/10)
▸I consent the land enrolled and the practice(s) requested will not be dually enrolled in a cost-share program.

USDA Documentation (5/10)
▸I agree to provide the following completed USDA forms, if requested: (1) AD-1026 (Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) Certification) and have not been determined to be in violation of these provisions; (2) CCC-902 (Farm Operating Plan for Payment Eligibility 2009 and Subsequent Program Years); (3) AD-2047 (Customer Data Worksheet); (4) Form 578 and Map of Farm with Common Land Units; and (5) Subsidiary Print.

Additional Information (6/10)
▸I consent to furnish additional information before receiving the balance of the payments (e.g. yield).

Breach of Contract (7/10)
▸I agree that failure to meet the terms and conditions of the application and accompanying documents may require refund of payments.

Foreign Person or Entity (8/10)
▸I agree that the applicant is not a foreign person or entity.

Permission to Contact (9/10)
▸I consent to be contacted via email or phone regarding this application and other project related opportunities, whether or not selected for the program.

Agree and Consent (10/10)
▸I agree the information on this application is true and correct.

Instructions


You’re nearly there!  Before you submit, please let us know how you found out about the Alliance.

Now that you have submitted, your application is under review.  You will receive notification of your enrollment decision after the application cycle ends in your state.

READY TO APPLY?

We are thrilled you are interested in joining the Alliance to Advance Climate-Smart Agriculture.  Please ensure you have read the Application Instructions before beginning.  Note that you will be able to save your application and return later, as needed.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

CONTACT US

If you have any questions, or have difficulty completing the application, please contact our Communications Manager, Samantha Jameson.