NRCS offers Conservation Innovation Grants |

NRCS offers Conservation Innovation Grants

Greg Fogel
The Hagstrom Report |

The Agriculture Department’s Natural Resources Conservation Service on Dec. 18 announced the availabity of $10 million in the Conservation Innovation Grants program, funding innovative conservation projects in three areas: grazing lands, organic systems and soil health.

Grant proposals are due Feb. 26. NRCS is hosting a webinar for potential CIG applicants at 4 p.m. EST Jan. 11.

NRCS is focusing funding in these areas:

» Grazing lands: Helping livestock producers make grazing management decisions, encouraging prescribed burning as a grazing management practice, and improving access to conservation planning tools used for developing grazing management plans.

» Organic agriculture systems: Helping organic producers develop innovative cropping and tillage systems, edge-of-field monitoring, crop rotations and intercropping systems.

» Soil health: Supporting both cropping and grazing systems, in a variety of climatic zones, that incorporate soil health management systems for addressing specific resource concerns like nutrients and availability. Evaluating multiple soil health assessment methods to assist in the development of new soil health indicators and thresholds.

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition praised the announcement.

“The selection of organic agriculture systems, soil health, and grazing lands as the three priority areas for USDA’s fiscal year 2018 Conservation Innovation Grants (sends a strong signal about where additional investment is needed in the coming years,” said NSAC Policy Director Greg Fogel.

“Conservation agriculture, including organic farming, is an economic driver that provides huge benefits to family farmers while improving natural resources and environmental benefits for the generations to come,” Fogel said.

“With the addition of organic systems as a CIG priority area, USDA is acknowledging the tremendous impact the organic industry has had – and will have – on American agriculture. We hope that this acknowledgement by USDA will also send a clear message to Congress about the immense potential to be gleaned from organic and conservation agriculture.”