Accepting Applications for USDA Conservation Grants

Kelly MarshallConservation, USDA

usda-logoThe USDA is accepting proposals for projects designed to provide new conservation opportunities.  The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is investing up to $25 million for applications that encourage the development and adoption of conservation technologies in areas like conservation finance, data analytics and precision conservation.

“Conservation Innovation Grants have played a critical role in developing and implementing creative new methods to conserve the nation’s private agricultural lands and strengthening rural communities,” said Vilsack. “Today’s announcement builds on our support of technologies and approaches that help producers increase resiliency to extreme weather such as drought and floods.”

The 2017 focus areas for project proposals include the following:

  • Innovative approaches that benefit historically underserved and veteran farmers and ranchers, beginning farmers and ranchers and those with limited resources;
  • Natural resources data analytics tools—such as software and mobile apps—that increase producer knowledge of conservation benefits and alternatives;
  • Precision conservation tools that uncover opportunities for better input management (for example, nutrient management addressing source, timing, rate and placement), or address in-field vulnerabilities;
  • Conservation finance approaches that demonstrate the potential for new investment strategies to accelerate and expand private lands conservation;
  • Demonstration, evaluation and quantification of the effects of water management and soil health practices to minimize off-site impacts of natural resource challenges, such as excess sediment and nutrient runoff;
  • Pay-for-success models that stimulate conservation adoption and achievement of measurable outcomes.
  • Proposals are due by January 9, 2017.  Details about the applications are available online.  American Indian tribes, state and local units of government, non-governmental organizations and individuals are eligible to submit proposals.