These grants will fund projects benefiting several states that were significantly impacted by last year’s drought.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Friday’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 said. “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.”
The grants will address drought-related issues, such as grazing management, warm season forage systems, irrigation strategies and innovative cropping systems.
Recipients plan to 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.
One of the projects includes Texas AgriLife Research, which received $233,000 to develop guidelines for managing irrigation under drought conditions and computer programs for linking weather stations with irrigation scheduling.
Summaries of all projects selected for 2013 Conservation Innovation Grants are available at http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/cig/index.html.
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 percent of the total cost of projects must come from non-federal matching funds, including cash and in-kind contributions provided by the grant recipient.