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NRCS Awards $1.3 Million in Conservation Innovation Grants in Missouri

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) awarded approximately $1.3 million dollars for three Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) affecting Missouri. The selected grants, funded through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, will test and prove innovative approaches to conserving America’s private lands.

Grant winners will demonstrate inventive ways to improve soil health, conserve energy, manage nutrients and enhance wildlife habitat in balance with productive agricultural systems. At least 50 percent of the total cost of CIG projects must come from non-federal matching funds.
The Curators of the University of Missouri were awarded $98,737 to promote soil health through the use of cover crops. One portion of the proposed study will focus on evaluating the benefits and shortcomings of existing methods of cover crop seeding, while another focus will demonstrate the potential of cover crop use over a range of tillage practices.

Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana will benefit from the CIG awarded to the White River Irrigation District. Approximately $664,000 was designated to adopt emerging conservation practices for rice production in the Mississippi River Basin rice growing region.
The Women, Food and Agriculture Network was awarded $525,043 to assist in engaging Midwest women farmland owners in improving conservation and soil health in seven states including Missouri.

“The information gleaned from the studies awarded CIG funding in Missouri will genuinely benefit our state’s landowners, farmers and ranchers,” State Conservationist J.R. Flores said. “These grants aid in developing and demonstrating new ideas for conservation that are very relevant to the state of Missouri.”

In addition to national NRCS funding, the NRCS Missouri state office awarded Lincoln University $29,000 in CIG funding to demonstrate and evaluate cover crop over-seeding technology using high clearance sprayers.

Thirty-three entities were awarded national grants totaling $13 million. Grantees must work with producers and forestland owners to develop and demonstrate the new technologies and approaches. 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 and ranchers may use fertilizer, water and energy more efficiently.

For more on this grant program, visit USDA’s Conservation Innovation Grants webpage or contact your local NRCS office.