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News Release

USDA Accepts Grant Applications for Conservation Innovation Efforts

Grant Program Links Public, Private Groups to Improve the Environment and Preserve Resources

HONOLULU, Feb. 6, 2014 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting applications for competitive grants to develop and accelerate conservation approaches and technologies on private agricultural and forest lands.

Conservation Innovation Grants (CIGs) have contributed to some of the most pioneering conservation work on America's agricultural and forest lands. It's an excellent investment in new conservation technologies and approaches that farmers, ranchers and forest landowners can use to achieve their production and conservation goals.

About $15 million will be made available nationwide by the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). State and local governments, federally recognized Indian tribes, non-governmental and educational organizations, private businesses and individuals are eligible to apply.

Priority will be given to applications that relate to nutrient management, energy conservation, soil health, air quality, climate change, wildlife, economics, sociology, environmental markets, food safety, historically underserved groups, or assessments of past CIG projects.

In the 10 years that NRCS has administered the program, grants have helped develop water quality trading markets, demonstrated ways to increase fertilizer water and energy efficiencies, as well as address other resource concerns.

For example, the Pacific Gateway Center has a national CIG grant awarded in 2013 to help improve technologies and approaches for natural resource conservation on private lands. The target is sustainable solar for beginning farmers with limited resources. As a result of their grant, education and training on the technology and understanding of energy conservation will be provided. In addition, this grant will help to reduce agricultural fossil fuel dependency, enhance financial viability of beginning farmers with limited resources, and introduce innovative, cost-saving measures

“We are encouraging all farmers and ranchers to consider applying for this national pool of funding,” said Christine Clarke, NRCS Acting Director for the Pacific Islands Area. “This is a great opportunity to implement conservation technology that will help protect our island resources.”

The grant program enables NRCS to work with public and private partners to accelerate technology development and adopt promising approaches to address natural resource concerns. Funded through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, the grants are awarded through a competitive process. At least 50 percent of the total cost of grant projects must come from non-federal matching funds, including cash and in-kind contributions provided by the grant recipient.

For more on this grant opportunity, visit http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/cig/index.html. To apply electronically, visit www.grants.gov.

USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service helps America's farmers and ranchers conserve the nation's soil, water, air and other natural resources. All programs are voluntary and offer science-based solutions that benefit both the landowner and the environment.