USDA-NRCS Accepts Grant Applications for Conservation Innovation Efforts

USDA-NRCS Accepts Grant Applications for Conservation Innovation Efforts

Grant program links public, private groups to improve soil health in Nebraska.

Craig Derickson, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service state conservationist for Nebraska, says $150,000 is available in program funding through Conservation Innovation Grants to help improve soil health in Nebraska. 

Applications must be received by NRCS before the close of business on May 16.

"The grant program enables NRCS to work with public and private partners to hasten technology development and adopt promising approaches to address natural resource concerns," Derickson says. "The natural resource concern Nebraska has chosen to place its focus on is soil health.

Ray Ward, owner of Ward Laboratories in Kearney, explains the positive impact of cover crops on soil structure.

"This is an exciting opportunity for Nebraska. While Conservation Innovation Grants aren't intended to fund research projects, they instead link federal and local resources to develop and adopt innovative conservation approaches and technologies for agriculture. With soil health being critical to the health and sustainability of agriculture, NRCS is looking forward to helping advance technology and innovation in this area." Nebraska CIG project proposals will need to address at least one of several soil health topics, such as the effect cover crops have on erosion, soil moisture, grazing management and the impacts of no-till vs. conventional tillage systems.

Funded through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, the grants are awarded through a competitive process. At least 50% of the total cost of grant projects must come from non-federal matching funds, including cash and in-kind contributions provided by the grant recipient. CIG will fund single and multi-year projects, not to exceed 3 years (anticipated project start date of Sept. 1). The maximum award amount for any project will not exceed $75,000 in Fiscal Year 2014.

For more on this grant opportunity, visit http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/cig/index.html. To apply electronically, visit www.grants.gov.

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