In mid-September the USDA announced the award of funds to improve conservation on agricultural lands.
Excerpt from USDA press release: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the award of 33 Conservation Innovation Grants awarded to entities across the nation to develop and demonstrate cutting-edge ideas to accelerate private lands conservation. Grant recipients will demonstrate innovative approaches to improve soil health, conserve energy, manage nutrients and enhance wildlife habitat in balance with productive agricultural systems. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service administers this competitive grants program.
“Conservation Innovation Grants activate creativity and problem-solving to benefit conservation-minded farmers and ranchers,” Vilsack said. “These grants are critical for developing and demonstrating new ideas for conservation on America’s private lands and strengthening rural communities. Everyone relies on our nation’s natural resources for food, fiber, and clean water and will benefit from these grants.”
The awards total $13.3 million. Six of the approved grants support conservation technologies and approaches to help farmers and ranchers who historically have not had equal access to agricultural programs because of race or ethnicity, or who have limited resources, or who are beginning farmers and ranchers.
The funding oriented toward beginning farmers went to the following projects:
- Pacific Gateway Center (HI) $180,922: Sustainable Solar for Beginning Farmers (SSBF) with Limited Resources
- University of Georgia (GA) $132,764: Improving Nutrient Management by Beginning Farmers by Predicting Nitrogen Release from Cover Crops
- Wes-Mon-Ty RC&D (WV) $48,728: Historically Underserved Specialty Crop Farmer Demonstration of Scale Appropriate Winter Cover Crop Rolling/Crimping Technologies for Improved Soil Health