Climate Smart Agriculture Grant


Do you have questions about the CT RC&D Climate Smart Farming Grant program and/or the grant application? Email Sarah Layton, Agricultural Programs Coordinator, at or call 860-345-3977 ext. 102.

First Round 2023 Grant Guidance

Please consult the following for guidance regarding CT RC&D’s Climate Smart Agriculture Grant program, which intends to award grants to farmers for the implementation of on-farm energy projects (energy efficiency & renewable energy) and soil health equipment and practices. Each project should include one or more components of climate smart farming. Examples can be found in the Award Amount and Approved Purposes section below, as well as National Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) Climate-Smart Mitigation Activities.

The guidance below is separated into drop-down menus for ease of viewing; however, you can also download a full PDF version.

CT RC&D is issuing awards in varying amounts for program implementation in two rounds: the first opening in Summer 2023 and the second in Spring 2024. If applicants meet eligibility criteria, they may apply for either tier of funding in the first round or the second round, but may not apply for both. There are two application funding tiers:


New/Beginning (1-3 years) and Established (3+ years) Farms

Award Amount
$5,000 to $25,000

Cash or In Kind Match Requirement
25% Soil Health, 50% Energy*

Project Duration
1 year from time of award to implementation or installation AND 1 year of monitoring afterward.


Established (3+ years) Farms

Award Amount
$25,001 to $50,000

Cash or In Kind Match Requirement
25% Soil Health, 50% Energy*

Project Duration
1 year from time of award to implementation or installation AND 1 year of monitoring afterward.

*Grant applicants are encouraged to seek matching funds support through other state and federal funding opportunities, such as: USDA REAP Grants, Energize CT Incentives, municipal electric company incentives, CT Renewable Energy Solutions Program, CT Green Bank loan, USDA NRCS EQIP program incentives, etc. Underserved farms, as defined by DoAG for the purpose of this grant, who are unable to secure all matching funds, may submit a request for accommodation as a supporting document to this application.

The following entities are eligible to apply for the Climate Smart Agriculture Grant:

  • Agricultural producers, singularly or jointly, whether such producers are owners or tenants of existing agribusiness within the State of Connecticut
  • Agricultural cooperatives
  • All agricultural entities, including aquaculture, agriculture, and forestry
  • All production types, including conventional/organic, indoor/outdoor, soil/water, urban/rural, etc.
  • New/beginning farms (operations in production 1-3 years)
  • Established farms (operations in production 3+ years)
  • Priority will be given to projects which support historically underserved farmers,* including BIPOC producers, veterans, new and beginning farmers (farming for 1-3 years), anyone in a protected class, anyone who speaks English as a second language.
    *As defined by the CT Department of Agriculture for the Climate Smart Agriculture and Forestry Grant funding.

Applicants must possess the following:

  • Farmers’ Tax Exemption Permit through the CT Department of Revenue Services
  • Copy of crop plan submitted to DoAG (if applicable)
  • Business registration with the CT Secretary of State’s office
  • Project must be on a farm business located in Connecticut
  • Owned property
  • Leased property (the Landlord Consent Agreement authorizing the proposal must be submitted with the application)

Grant awards will not exceed $25,000 for Tier 1 and $50,000 for Tier 2 per farm applicant. Funds must be used to implement, support, or expand climate smart agricultural practices related to on-farm energy (energy efficiency and renewable energy) and/or soil health equipment and practices. The use of funds must be toward an approved purpose and related to the proposed project.

Examples of soil health equipment and practices that reduce emissions and enhance soil carbon sequestration include but are not limited to:

  • Planting of cover crops
  • Conservation crop rotation
  • Conservation tillage (no-till/low till)
  • Mulching
  • Composting
  • Nutrient management
  • Improved grazing and pasture
  • Land management
  • Purchasing equipment to directly improve soil health
  • Additional examples can be found in the National Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) Climate-Smart Mitigation Activities.

Examples of energy projects include but are not limited to:

  • Increasing on-farm energy efficiency
  • Upgrading to energy-efficient lighting
  • Installing solar panels to offset electricity usage
  • Purchasing solar-powered equipment (ex: solar tractor)
  • Installing solar-powered ventilation for high tunnels
  • Implementing renewable energy projects (ex: geothermal, heat pumps)
  • Replacing dated coolers/freezers with energy-efficient equipment

Funds from this grant must be paid directly to the farm applicant awardee.

Eligible uses of funding; expenses that can be used as a match if they directly and meaningfully support the proposed project:

  • Equipment purchases and rentals to support implementation of climate-smart farming practices as outlined in this application
  • Materials and supplies specifically related to the project
  • Employee* wages and fringe benefits related to the implementation and execution of the proposed project

*Owner wages and/or time may be included as an in-kind match but will not be compensated directly by this grant

  • Hired contractors and consultants’ time related to the proposed project
  • Stipends for student and/or intern work related to the proposed project
  • State/local/federal permits related to the proposed project

Ineligible uses of funding; expenses that cannot be used as a match:

  • Any expense incurred prior to contract execution
  • Land acquisition or mortgages
  • Cost of borrowing (points and other fees)
  • Expenses related to establishing a new organization/business
  • Any portion of expense for which the applicant pays a contractor in merchandise or service in lieu of cash
  • Tuition/tuition reimbursement or career-related/scholarship funds
  • Routine business expenses (utilities, office supplies, etc.)
  • Goods and supplies (office, farm, otherwise) unrelated to the project
  • Legal expenses
  • Indirect or contingency costs of any percentage
  • Purchasing one’s own product or service
  • Income taxes

Grant awardees are required to sign a contract governing the terms of their awarded grant. Contracts will be provided upon selection for award. Upon contract signing, grant awardee will receive an initial 50% of award payment, payable directly to the farm business applicant. The remaining 50% of the award will be reimbursed to the applicant upon favorable review of the second semi-annual report and CT RC&D/CT DoAG site visit once the project is fully implemented/installed.

Upon the first 50% grant award payment, grant recipients are allotted one year to implement/install the project. This is followed by one year of required monitoring/reporting to CT RC&D.

Contract and project extensions are not allowed. Additionally, recipients will be monitored by CT RC&D to ensure project deliverables are adequately implemented and reported.

Applicants of awarded projects will be responsible for the following:

  • Signing a contract with CT RC&D.
  • Providing a certificate of insurance holding CT RC&D harmless or listing CT RC&D as an additional insured on the grantee’s general liability insurance policy in the amount of $1,000,000 or more. The amount of the general liability insurance policy may be less at the discretion of CT RC&D based on the amount of the sub-grant and nature of the grantee’s business and proposed use of the grant funds.
  • Implementing/installing the project within one year.
  • Submitting three semi-annual reports assessing project status and itemizing current and anticipated expenses. Copies of invoices and proof of payment must be submitted with the first and second semi-annual reports.
  • Allow site inspections from CT RC&D and CT DoAG. The first will take place once the project is complete and prior to final payment being released. A second site inspection may occur during the monitoring period.
  • Submitting a final report measuring project outcomes/impact.
  • Other requirements as outlined in the CT RC&D contract.

If awarded, failure to provide the necessary information to establish an agreement, or failure to sign and return a completed grant contract package by the deadline provided at the time of contract issuance, may result in CT RC&D rescinding the award and reallocating the funds back to the program. The awardee may reapply for future funding opportunities, but there is no guarantee of being selected.

As the funding agent, CT DoAG requires CT RC&D to submit quarterly reports on the progress of the sub-grant program. As such, any farm applicant awarded a CT RC&D Climate Smart Agriculture Grant must submit to CT RC&D semi-annual and final reports by the deadlines outlined below. Please note, the tables below provide a general timeframe; specific deadlines will be outlined in awarded contracts.

Implementation Phase

Action Deadline
Contract Signing Fall/Winter 2023
Initial Disbursement (50%) of Funds Fall/Winter 2023
First Semi-Annual Report Due Spring 2024
Project Installation/Implementation Fall 2024
Second Semi-Annual Report Due Fall 2024
Site Visit conducted by CT RC&D and CT DoAG Fall/Winter 2024
Following completion of project, request for Final Disbursement (50%) of Funds Fall 2024


Monitoring Phase

Action Deadline
Third Semi-Annual Report Due Spring 2025
Possible Site Visit conducted by CT RC&D and CT DoAG Fall/Winter 2025
Final Report Fall 2025

Semi-annual reports must be submitted by the due dates specified in the contract. Using the provided Progress Report and Financial Report templates, grantees must describe the following during each reporting period:

  1. Budget information with expenses itemized and broken down by project category
  2. Deviations from the approved project and timeline
  3. Difficulties or challenges encountered
  4. Solutions developed to overcome difficulties
  5. Major planned activities for the upcoming period
  6. Timesheet detailing hours worked by staff
  7. Invoices from and payments to subcontractors

A Final Report must be submitted at least thirty (30) days prior to the expiration of the contract. Using the Final Report and Final Financial Report templates, grantees must provide the following:

  1. Documentation demonstrating that all elements of the contract have been met
  2. Documentation demonstrating expenditures identified in the contract (including match expenses)
  3. Additional reporting metrics as specified in the contract (pictures, videos, site visits, etc.) that will be required to measure the success of the project.

After the proposed project has been successfully implemented/installed, representatives from CT RC&D and CT DoAG shall be entitled to conduct a site visit to confirm completion of the contract.

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