FARGO — Audubon Dakota is offering North Dakota landowners and producers the opportunity to offset the cost of restoring marginal croplands back to native grasslands.

Funds for the Conservation Forage Program have been made available through a $6.9 million grant from the North Dakota Industrial Commission Outdoor Heritage Fund. It’s the largest grant the commission has awarded.

The first enrollment period for funding opened June 7 and closes August 6. The Conservation Forage Program’s goal is to accelerate grassland restoration across the state. The program will handle improvements for wildlife habitat, forage availability and quality and soil health on private lands over a five-year period. Additionally, landowners are expected to maintain the restored grassland for ten years.

Available resources include:

  • Three-year establishment payments
  • 60% forage seed mix cost share
  • 50% grazing infrastructure cost share
  • Fencing
  • Water infrastructure
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Restoration of grassland habitat will benefit bird species and native wildlife such as white-tailed deer and monarch butterflies, Audubon Dakota reported via news release.

To apply, visit dakota.audubon.org or contact program manager Sarah Hewitt at sarah.hewitt@audubon.org or 701-298-3373.