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Winrock International

EPA announces more than $7.5 Million in water quality cooperative agreements through Gulf of Mexico Division

Winrock International awarded $1,150,000 for Farmer-Driven Water Quality through Conservation Grazing in the Kickapoo River Watershed

Gulfport, Miss. (August 14, 2019) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it anticipates awarding seven Gulf of Mexico Division cooperative agreements totaling more than $7.5 million to fund projects that improve water quality, habitat, and environmental education in the Gulf of Mexico watershed.

Since 2018, approximately $9.5 million has been awarded to support novel or innovative agricultural techniques, methods or approaches through EPA’s farmer to farmer cooperative agreements. These projects support farmer led and/or farmer focused organizations with experience implementing programs and demonstration projects through collaboration with farmers. The projects will center around innovative monitoring systems that will measure and report field scale water and nutrient dynamics to farmers in support of informed crop management decisions.

“These Farmer to Farmer grants will promote innovative, market-based solutions for monitoring and improving water quality throughout the Gulf of Mexico watershed,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “These grants are an important part of our efforts to support America’s farmers in a manner that strengthens both American agriculture and the protection of our nation’s vital water resources.”

“Farmer to Farmer Cooperative Agreements directly support science and technology-based water quality initiatives needed to protect our watersheds while also maintaining a vital agricultural economy,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Jim Gulliford. “Here in Region 7 a combined $3.15 million in funding will support Iowa in the restoration and installation of wetlands as well as the use of cover crops to help provide measurable water quality improvement to waterways across Iowa and further downstream in the Gulf of Mexico.”

“This investment represents another way EPA is improving coastal resilience and protecting the Gulf of Mexico,” said EPA Region 6 EPA Administrator Ken McQueen. “These Farmer to Farmer projects will help prioritize resources and restore the Gulf.”

“EPA is committed to finding innovative ways to support our farmers and the agricultural industry,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker.  “Farmer to Farmer cooperative agreements will assist in developing farming methods that improve water quality and encourage habitat restoration and protection across the Gulf of Mexico watershed.”

2019 Water Quality Cooperative Agreement Recipients:

B.F. Smith Foundation

$1,149,813 for Farming Systems Research: Demonstrating an Innovative and Scalable Watershed-Based Approach to Advancing Sustainable Agriculture

Mississippi State University       

$1,088,025 for Multi-State Collaboration to Improve Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico Water Quality through Farmer-Led Initiatives and Farmer-Driven Data

Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies

$1,000,000 for Targeted Restoration of Natural Resources though Innovative Technology, Public Partnerships and Farmer Cooperation in the Chipola River Basin

Winrock International

$1,150,000 for Farmer-Driven Water Quality through Conservation Grazing in the Kickapoo River Watershed

Practical Farmers of Iowa

$935,788 for Roots for Water Quality: A Farmer-to-Farmer Model for a Sustainable Mississippi Basin

University of Iowa

$1,064,926 for Connecting Rural and Peri-urban Farmers to Demonstrate and Disseminate Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Practices

Iowa Dept. of Agriculture and Land Stewardship

$1,150,000 for Effective, Targeted Wetland Installations to Maximize Nutrient Removal, Wetland Habitat Function, and Ultimately Expand Delivery


The Clean Water Act provides authority and resources that are essential to protecting water quality in the Gulf of Mexico and larger Mississippi River Basin. EPA’s regional offices and the Gulf of Mexico Division work with states to continue to maximize the efficiency and utility of water quality monitoring efforts for local managers by coordinating and standardizing state and federal water quality data collection activities in the Gulf region. Enhanced monitoring and research are needed in the Gulf Coast region to make data more readily available.

The Gulf of Mexico Division is a non-regulatory program of EPA founded to facilitate collaborative actions to protect, maintain, and restore the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico in ways consistent with the economic well-being of the region. To carry out its mission, the Gulf of Mexico Division continues to maintain and expand partnerships with state and federal agencies, federally recognized tribes, local governments and authorities, academia, regional business and industry, agricultural and environmental organizations, and individual citizens and communities.

For more information about the U.S. EPA Gulf of Mexico Division go to:

EPA Press Office (