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News Release

USDA Funds Projects to Improve Conservation on Private Lands in California

Contact: Dave Sanden (530) 691-5847

Conservation Innovation GrantsDavis, Calif., Dec. 13, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture is awarding more than $3.5 million for innovative approaches and technologies to improve conservation in California under the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program. Nationally, $15 million is being awarded to conservation partners across the country for 19 projects. The projects focus on helping agricultural producers mitigate the effects of climate change and increase the resilience of their operations. Many of the projects focus on providing conservation benefits for historically undeserved producers.

CIG is a competitive program that supports the development of new tools, approaches, practices and technologies to further natural resource conservation on private lands. Through creative problem solving and innovation, CIG harnesses the expertise, resources, and capacity of partner organizations nationwide to help boost natural resource conservation on private lands and support climate smart agriculture.

“Innovation is key to addressing the climate crisis and conserving the natural resources we all depend on,” said Natural Resources Conservation Service California State Conservationist Carlos Suarez. “CIG partners are using the latest science and research to come up with solutions that work for farmers, ranchers and foresters and help ensure the longevity of American agriculture.”

Projects in California

  • Conservation in Action - Diffusion of Education to Foster Adoption of Enhanced Nitrogen and Irrigation Management Practices: $1,999,719 
    California Department of Food and Agriculture 
    Informed by recent studies outlining barriers to specific nutrient and irrigation practice adoption in the California Central Valley, the grant seeks to increase producer adoption of conservation practices addressing irrigation and nitrogen by focusing on farming communities where applied nitrogen continues to exceed crop needs.  
  • Transforming the Community, Climate, and Soil Health of Urban Agriculture through Applying Food Waste Derived Fertilizers in Community Learning Gardens: $1,507,608  
    Latino Equity, Advocacy, and Policy Institute (LEAP) 
    This project will test and demonstrate the use of food waste digestate as a liquid fertilizer and compost application in an urban agriculture system. The project will be conducted in four historically underserved communities to promote soil health practices that will help to mitigate the impact of heat and drought in urban settings. 

Funding priorities for this year included: climate-smart strategies for water resources; soil health (focused on climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience); nutrient management; grazing lands conservation; and strategies to increase conservation adoption. 

For a full list of this year’s projects, visit the NRCS website.