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conservation innovation grants program

Can Family-Owned Forests Help the U.S. Achieve a Low-Carbon Future?

A USDA Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) project is trying to reimagine how carbon markets can work with and for small landholders. The Family Forest Carbon Program (FFCP), led by the American Forest Foundation (AFF) and The Nature Conservancy, bases carbon payments on specific forest management practices that have been scientifically shown to increase the amount of carbon that gets removed from the atmosphere and stored in the trees and soil. The project’s goal is to facilitate the participation of nearly 300 million acres of family-owned American forests in carbon markets

Conservation Finance Can Mean Cleaner Air and Water and Healthier Soil

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is the largest funder of conservation on private land in the United States, supporting producers’ transitions to beneficial farming and ranching practices. While these transitions can require an upfront cost, they also often lead to financial rewards. Healthy and resilient soils, rich with organic material, may lead to more productive crops requiring less fertilizer. And watersheds protected by forests and riverbanks with riparian habitat can lead to cleaner water downstream.

Spurring Agricultural Innovation Across the Nation

“He would often dream up new ideas and inventions that he would build in his shop and implement on his farm. Most all of them worked better than anything else available. He never faced a hill that he didn’t think could be flattened with a lot of hard work and determination, and he taught those around him to question the conventional wisdom and not be afraid to boldly seek new ways of doing things.” -from Leroy Isbell’s obituary in the Stuttgart Daily Leader, 2014

Chris Isbell didn't set out to make history. He was just following in his father's footsteps.