NRCS Awards Grants for Making Virginia Soils Stronger and Healthier
Richmond, September 13, 2012 – Though we can’t make more land, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is helping producers make more of the land they have by funding innovative approaches/technologies for improving soil health. State Conservationist John A. Bricker announced today that NRCS is providing more than $150,000 in grant funding for three Virginia projects designed to enhance soil structure and organic matter.
Offered through the Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) program, these three-year grants will support field demonstrations of soil-building techniques on crop and grazing land. Recipients include:
Hanover-Caroline Soil & Water Conservation District – $49,900 to help more Central Virginia small grain, forage and vegetable producers plant diverse cover crop species to improve soil health, water quality, and pollinator habitat
Virginia No-Till Alliance – $39,515 to demonstrate and quantify impacts of diverse cover crop mixtures and manure injection on soil health
Virginia Tech – $75,000 to demonstrate how alternative types of grazing management affect soil health and nutrient loss in pastures
"I believe soil health is the new conservation frontier,” says Bricker. “I am very excited about the innovative methods farmers are using to take soil health to the next level. These practices go beyond sustainability, improving profitability, and contributing to cleaner air and water for future generations.”
The federal funds for these projects are matched 50/50 with cash or in-kind credit from non-federal funds from the recipients. Project duration is from one to three years with individual awards not exceeding $75,000. Projects must involve landowners who meet eligibility requirements for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
For more information about the EQIP eligibility, please visit http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/financial/eqip. Learn more about CIG by visiting www.nrcs.usda.gov/technical/cig/index.html.