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News Release

Deadline for USDA Conservation Innovation Grant Pre-proposals January 31

News Release - Indiana

United States Department of Agriculture
Natural Resources Conservation Service

6013 Lakeside Boulevard
Indianapolis, IN  46278
www.in.nrcs.usda.gov

Indianapolis, IN Jan.5, 2012 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced the opportunity for 2012 Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).  Pre-proposals are due January 31, 2012.  Conservation Innovation Grants 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 run sustainable and profitable operations and address high-priority natural resource concerns,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “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.

·         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

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, an applicant must be located in one of the following areas:  the 50 States, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Also, an applicant must be one of the following: a private individual; a federally recognized Indian Tribe; a State or local government; or a non-governmental organization.

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 (http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/16C58.txt) .

CIG funds will be awarded through a competitive grants 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.  Notification of selected pre-proposal applications will be announced by February 29, 2012.

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

For more information about NRCS conservation programs, visit http://www.nrcs.usda.gov or visit your local USDA service center. 

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Contacts: 

Jill Reinhart, NRCS Assistant State Conservationist-Special Projects, 317.290.3200, ext. 383

Rebecca Fletcher, NRCS State Public Affairs Specialist, 317.290.3200, ext 325

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.