Richmond, March 7, 2014 - USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced that approximately $350,000 is available in 2014 for the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies in Virginia.
This year, NRCS will offer Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) funding for projects within the state that focus on soil health, silvopasture establishment, nutrient management, wetland restoration design, and economics (costs and benefits of conservation). Soil health submissions can address a wide range of topics, including education and outreach, crop diversity, grazing management, and soil-health-building farming systems. Innovative approaches that promote soil health in other ways are also strongly encouraged.
"Soil health is still a priority need for our 2014 CIG projects,” says NRCS State Conservationist Jack Bricker. “We’re looking for demonstration projects that seek to improve soil health and function on Virginia farmland to increase productivity, profitability, and the environmental impact of agriculture. Proposals that address multiple principles and integrated systems will receive a higher ranking from our review group.”
CIG grants will be awarded for projects between one and three years’ duration with individual awards not exceeding $75,000. Entities and individuals, including state and local units of government, and non-governmental organizations, who are interested in applying for these competitive grants must submit pre-proposals by 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) on May 2, 2014. Those who are selected will be notified by May 23, 2014, and required to submit a full application to the NRCS State Office by 4 p.m. EDT on June 27, 2014.
CIG does not fund research projects or those intended to formulate hypotheses. Projects must involve landowners who meet eligibility requirements for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Applications may be hand delivered or forwarded via express mail or overnight courier to: USDA-NRCS, CIG Program, 1606 Santa Rosa Road, Suite 209, Richmond, VA 23229-5014. Packages may also be submitted electronically by visiting http://www.grants.gov/ and clicking on the “Apply for Grants” link. The Virginia application number is USDA-NRCS-VA-14-01.