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News Release

USDA Awards Funds to Improve Conservation on Pennsylvania’s Agricultural Lands

Molly McDonough

(HARRISBURG, PA, September 16, 2013) USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service has awarded over $1 million in Conservation Innovation Grants (CIGs) to five entities for projects that will test and prove innovative approaches to conserving private lands in Pennsylvania.

“Conservation Innovation Grants activate creativity and problem-solving to benefit conservation-minded farmers,” said Denise Coleman, NRCS state conservationist in Pennsylvania “These grants are critical for developing and demonstrating new ideas to improve soil health, conserve energy, and manage nutrients in balance with productive agricultural systems.”

Grant recipients and projects include:

  • Capital RC&D Council – To demonstrate the implementation of grazing management strategies that will promote soil health and resilience of grazing plants to extreme weather conditions.
    Grant amount = $42,847
  • Pennsylvania State University – To explore a manure additive that reduces bursts of hydrogen sulfide during manure agitation on farms using gypsum bedding; to demonstrate air quality safety instruments to measure hydrogen sulfide levels; and disseminate findings.
    Grant amount = $70,000
  • Rodale Institute - To demonstrate the use of native plants as permanent cover crops to eliminate the need for annual applications of synthetic burn-down herbicides, control erosion, and improve soil health.
    Grant amount = $74,268
  • PennAg Industries Association - To increase the adoption of the 4R nutrient stewardship approach to achieve water and air resource conservation.
    Grant amount = $75,000
  • National Fish and Wildlife Foundation - To build on efforts to advance the deployment of both liquid and solid manure injection technologies in high-density animal production regions of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. (This is a nationally-funded project across the Chesapeake Bay Basin in MD, PA, NY, DE, and VA).
    Grant amount = $821,384.

The grants are funded through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. Grantees must work with producers and forestland owners to develop and demonstrate the new technologies and approaches.
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.

NRCS has offered this grant program since 2004, investing in ways to demonstrate and transfer efficient and environmentally friendly farming and ranching. In the past nine years, the grants have helped develop trading markets for water quality and have shown how farmers may use fertilizer, water and energy more efficiently.

For more on this grant program, visit USDA’s Conservation Innovation Grants webpage or contact Noel Soto at the Pennsylvania NRCS State Office at 717-237-2173.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write to USDA, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Stop 9410, Washington, DC 20250-9410, or call toll-free at (866) 632-9992 (English) or (800) 877-8339 (TDD) or (866) 377-8642 (English Federal-relay) or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish Federal-relay).