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News Release

USDA Awards $26 Million in Conservation Innovation Grants


United States Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service
1221 College Park Drive, Suite 100
Dover, Delaware 19904
For More Information:

Paul Petrichenko, 302-678-4180
Dastina Wallace, 302-678-4179

USDA Awards $26 Million in Conservation Innovation Grants

University of Delaware Awarded Grant to Develop Innovative Agriculture Approaches

DOVER, Del., Aug. 27, 2012 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently announced $26 million in Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) awarded to 59 entities across the nation for projects that test and prove innovative approaches to conserving America’s private lands.

University of Delaware will receive nearly $1 million through CIG for innovative approaches to capture nitrogen and air pollutant emissions from poultry operations.  The goal is to help broiler producers adopt economical and effective strategies to improve their environmental performance, meet regulation requirements on air and water quality and achieve sustainable, productive, and profitable broiler producing operations.  Demonstration sites will be in Arkansas, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.

“These grants will help spur creative solutions to address natural resource concerns of our nation’s waterways, farms, and forests,” said Russell Morgan, State Conservationist for USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).  “Conservation grants allow the best minds in America to develop unique and innovative solutions that will help make conservation more efficient in the future.”

New this year was a special emphasis on water quality trading markets to demonstrate how farmers and ranchers can help municipalities and other point sources overcome high pollution control costs.  Twelve entities received grant funds for this purpose; however, none were in Delaware.

In a water quality trading program, point sources buy environmental benefits or “credits” from landowners who install specific conservation practices.  Farmers can produce water quality credits by implementing conservation practices that reduce nutrients or sediment losses, and generally at a much lower cost than a municipal treatment facility.  The goal is to achieve water quality improvements more cost-effectively by bringing together willing buyers and sellers. 

NRCS administers CIG as part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Grant winners pay 50 percent of all project costs.  Grants are awarded to state and local governments, federally recognized Indian tribes, non-governmental organizations, and individuals.

NRCS uses CIG to invest in innovative, on-the-ground conservation technologies and approaches with the goal of wide-scale adoption to address water quality and quantity, air quality, energy conservation, and environmental markets among other natural resource issues.


For a complete list of CIG awardees and more information about NRCS conservation programs online, visit:


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