What Are Conservation Innovation Grants?

What Are Conservation Innovation Grants?

Unique USDA grants can help farms build resilience to drought and other adverse weather.

FAQ: What are Conservation Innovation Grants? Who can apply for them?

Answer: U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in April announced an award of $5.3 million in Conservation Innovation Grants to develop approaches and technology that will help farmers adapt to extreme climate changes that cause drought. Anyone can apply for them who has a worthwhile project. The applications are then evaluated and ranked in a competitive process.

INNOVATIVE CONSERVATION METHODS: "USDA is working diligently to help farmers and ranchers rebound from last year's drought and prepare for future times of climatic extremes," says USDA chief Tom Vilsack. "Conservation Innovation Grants are an excellent way to invest in new technology and approaches that will help farmers, ranchers and rural communities be more resilient in the future."

These grants will fund projects benefiting several states that were significantly impacted by last year's drought. USDA remains focused on carrying out its mission, says Vilsack, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today's announcement is one part of the department's efforts to strengthen the rural economy.

"USDA is working diligently to help American farmers and ranchers rebound from last year's drought and prepare for future times of climatic extremes," Vilsack says. "Conservation Innovation Grants are an excellent way to invest in new technology and approaches that will help our farmers, ranchers and rural communities be more resilient in the future."

Helping farmers and agriculture cope with climate change

The grants will address drought-related issues, such as grazing management, warm season forage systems, irrigation strategies and innovative cropping systems. Recipients will evaluate innovative, field-based conservation technologies and approaches, leading to improvements like enhancing soil's ability to hold water, evaluating irrigation water use and installing grazing systems that are more tolerant to drought.

Summaries of all projects selected for 2013 Conservation Innovation Grants are available at www.nrcs.usda.gov/.

These grants are funded by EQIP, and are awarded through a competitive process

NRCS has offered this grant program since 2004, investing in ways to demonstrate and transfer efficient and environmentally friendly farming and ranching practices. This specific announcement of program funding was in response to last year's historic drought.

Conservation Innovation Grants projects are funded by the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and awarded through a competitive grants process. At least 50% of the total cost of projects must come from nonfederal matching funds, including cash and in-kind contributions provided by the grant recipient.

For more on grant recipients or Conservation Innovation Grants, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/.

TAGS: USDA
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