Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Finding Money

Part of my day job is finding implementation money for farmers interested in improving soil & water on their farm. What does this mean? Well, a few things. For one it is understanding and playing politics. I never had desires to run for office and would probably have been shot or tortured years ago if I ever joined the diplomatic corps.

Typically, we try to write EPF (environmental protection fund) grants for specific projects in a particular watershed. We also try to learn the "point system" for the NRCS/FSA grant process. You know those parlour games/toys where you try to manover the metal ring through all of the bits and free it from the contraption? Well, that is trying to figure out what it is that these people (grant reviewers) are looking for. For economic development grants you could at least talk to the reviewer after you were turned down to see what they had in mind so that you could improve upon your first grant attempt.

Another way to find money for farmers in these watersheds is when another one drops out of the grant. Say for example they decided to retire or the milk prices were too low, or it took 3 years to get the money and they went ahead and installed the practice themselves...

Well, that is one of the "I have good news and I have bad news" conversations this week. I found you $XXX of money, but the grant closes in 2 weeks we have to have reciepts in dated 2/28 at the latest. I love challenges, but I hate having to do that to a farmer. This isn't how I want to run my business, how can I expect the person to run theirs that way too.

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