January 31 Deadline for USDA Conservation Innovation Grants

Cindy ZimmermanConservation, Nutrient Management, USDA

January 31, 2012 is the deadline to submit project pre-proposals for fiscal year 2012 Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) from the USDA’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 Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

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.
-The impacts of cover crops, crop rotations, tillage and other conservation practices on soil health.
-Conservation practices that increase the water-holding capacity of soils.
-Decision tools that help producers assess their operations and conservation needs in order to improve wildlife habitat.
Assess the technology transfer potential of completed CIG projects.

More about the program and application process is available on-line from USDA.