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Deadline for USDA grants approaching

By Staff | Jan 13, 2012

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack reminded applicants that Jan. 31, 2012, is the last day to submit project pre-proposals for fiscal year 2012 Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Pre-proposals support large-scale demonstration projects that test and prove original approaches to conserving America’s private lands.

“These conservation grants continue to generate exciting new ideas that help farmers and ranchers run sustainable and profitable operations and address high-priority natural resource concerns,” said Kevin Wickey, West Virginia State Conservationist. “We are proud to encourage the advancement of innovative conservation methods that will benefit producers, the public and the economy for years to come.”

This year’s CIG projects focus on nutrient management, energy conservation, soil health, wildlife and CIG projects assessment. NRCS is especially interested in projects that demonstrate: Optimal combinations of nutrient source, application rate, placement and timing that improve nutrient recovery by crops; procedures for refining the usefulness of the phosphorous index in reducing phosphorous losses; suites of conservation practices that protect water quality; renewable energy systems that reduce the use of fossil fuels and increase energy efficiency on farms; conservation practices that increase the water-holding capacity of soils; and decision tools that help producers assess their operations and conservation needs in order to improve wildlife habitat.

Results of successful projects will be included in NRCS policy, technical manuals, guides and references.

There are two types of eligibility for CIG applicant eligibility and project eligibility. For applicant eligibility, applicants must be one of the following: a State or local government; a non-governmental organization; or a private individual.

For project eligibility, the proposed project or activity must encompass the development and assessment, evaluation and implementation of either of the following: conservation adoption approaches or incentive systems, including market-based systems; or promising conservation technologies, practices, systems, procedures or activities.

Landowners must meet Environmental Quality Incentives Program eligibility requirements defined in 16 U.S.C. Section 3839aa-1.

CIG funds will be awarded through a competitive grant process. At least 50 percent of the total cost of CIG projects must come from non-Federal matching funds, including cash and in-kind contributions provided by the grant recipient.

To apply electronically, visit www.grants.gov or contact a local NRCS office. To view the complete Announcement of Program Funding, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/cig/.