Approved 2011 Conservation Innovation Grant Projects
Below is a list of the fiscal year 2011 Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) projects approved in Arkansas. The information includes the State(s) in which the project will be carried out, the total amount of NRCS funding provided, project title, and a brief project description.
University of Arkansas (AR)
Integration Soil, Crop and Pest Monitoring Using Spatial Technology on Arkansas Cotton Farms to Achieve Nutrient Loss reduction--in cooperation with Little River Ditches MRBI/CCPI
We expect to produce results that will provide evidence for growers, their service providers, and other conservation partners that show improved crop productivity – earlier maturing and higher yields – following integration of project BMPs. These practices and management technologies can enable producers to reduce nitrogen and phosphorous use without sacrificing cotton yield or quality.
Results from environmental monitoring - edge-of-field water sampling, soil testing, and associated modeling efforts -- will provide baseline data for use as resource condition indicators in this MRB watershed. We expect to observe improved water quality as a result of decreased nutrient loss.
Our demonstrations and associated outreach and support activities should help to lower barriers to adoption of site specific management technologies.
We expect to provide increased technical support for outreach and education assistance to conservation partners including state and local NRCS professionals as well as Conservation District leaders involved in the Little River Ditches MRBI/CCPI Project contributing to the successful execution of that program.
Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture (AR, OK)
Resilience System Design and Management for Organic, Transitional, and Sustainable Vegetable Growers.
Our project will train organic, transitioning, and sustainable vegetable farmers in production systems design and techniques that will make their operations less dependent on off-farm inputs and, in the case of weed management, reduce labor costs. Production system design will focus on the key elements of organic bio-extensive models�cover crops, green fallow, and planned crop rotations�which have not been well-explored or demonstrated in the Midsouth. Crop rotations, winter cover crops, and green fallow (summer cover crops) nurture soil biology, improve fertility, control erosion, prevent nutrient leaching, provide mulch, attract beneficial insects and control pests, especially weeds. When incorporated into a production system, such as a bio-extensive model, the reduced-input, humus-management concept that organic agriculture is founded upon becomes evident. Compatible with these system design elements are supportive practices that contribute to farm self-sufficiency. We will also provide training on these techniques that include making and using compost, compost tea, plant-based foliar fertilizers, and biochar.
University of Tennessee (AR, LA, MO, MS, TN)
Precision Nitrogen Injection Using Integrated Optical Sensing and Variable Rate Technologies
This project will demonstrate to producers and other interested groups the procedures and benefits of utilizing these innovative precision technologies: optical sensing and variable-rate application, to manage spatial variability within individual fields of cotton. The goal of this project is to encourage producers’ adoption of these new precision N management technologies and systems on their farms to reduce N fertilizer consumption and potential N losses, improve cotton productivity, and thus improve water quality and grower profitability in the Mississippi River Basin.
The Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops (SISC) is a multi-stakeholder initiative to develop a system for measuring sustainable performance throughout the specialty crop supply chain. Renewal funding is requested to continue an unprecedented collaboration amongst the nation’s most influential grower organizations, NGOs and buyers of specialty crop products. The project is making progress toward providing a suite of outcomes-based metrics to enable operators at any point along the supply chain to benchmark, compare, and communicate their own performance in meeting sustainability goals.