September 15, 2015
On Tuesday, September 15, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it will award $20.5 million across 45 conservation projects through the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program. The CIG program supports the development and testing of promising new conservation technologies and approaches, with the goal of making them available for use as quickly as possible by conservation-minded farmers and ranchers nationwide.
According to USDA’s press release, “this year’s projects include efforts to increase habitat for pollinators, develop new ways to attract private investment in natural resource conservation, give agricultural producers greater access to greenhouse gas markets, and help farmers and ranchers make their operations more resilient to climate change.”
USDA awarded seven grants for projects that seek to bring innovative conservation approaches to beginning and socially disadvantaged producers. We are thrilled to say that, of those seven projects, three of them are NSAC member organizations:
In addition to the ALBA award, soil health and cover cropping are the subjects of six other new CIG awards, including a grant to Cornell University to expand the Cornell Soil Heath Test into a Comprehensive Soil Health Test applicable on a national scale with regional usability, a grant to the Farm Foundation to collect, analyze and disseminate to producers site-specific soil health and economic information related to cover crops and no-till, and one to the Noble Foundation to quantify the effects of summer cover crops on winter pastures under grazing systems. Also in the mix are grants to North Carolina State Extension for an interactive web-based cover crop tool, Colorado and Kansas State Universities for impact studies of cover cropping, crop rotation, and reduced tillage on the soils of the western Great Plains, and University of Minnesota to demonstrate inter-seeding techniques, including incorporation of potentially income-producing winter annual oilseed crops.
Visit USDA’s website for more information on this year’s CIG awards. You can also visit the CIG page of NSAC’s Grassroots Guide to Federal Farm and Food Programs for more information about how the program works.