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News Release

USDA Invests in New Projects Spurring Innovation in Grazing Lands, Organic Systems and Soil Health

Contact:
Renee Bodine
352-338-9565


Farm director William Byrd waters tomatoes at White Harvest Farm. The produce from the farm is sold in the neighborhood farmers market and prepared to feed the homeless at the Clara White Mission in Jacksonville, Fla.


Clara White Mission Funded to Build Soil Health at Jacksonville Urban Farm

WASHINGTON, July 26, 2018 – USDA will invest more than $10.6 million for 22 new projects that will drive public and private sector innovation in conserving natural resources in 27 states, including Florida. The competitive Conservation Innovation Grants program helps spur development and adoption of new conservation approaches and technologies.

“Through USDA’s Conservation Innovation Grants, we are able to bring together a wide array of groups to drive innovation and spur cutting-edge projects here in Florida,” said Russell Morgan, state conservationist with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). “This year’s competition resulted in an impressive array of proposals that will ultimately benefit Florida’s people who grow our food and fiber.”

Through this grant program, public and private grantees — including non-governmental organizations, American Indian tribes, academic institutions and local government entities — leverage the federal investment by providing a match or cost share that is at least equal to the amount of federal funding requested.

Projects focus on this year’s priority areas: grazing lands, organic agriculture systems and soil health. This year’s grants bring the total USDA investment to more than $297 million for 732 projects since 2004.

The Clara White Mission in Jacksonville was awarded $454,513 for the White Harvest Farm Soil Regeneration Initiative. This project will demonstrate cost effective and practical methods for urban and organic farmers to test soil biology to improve soil health and farm sustainably. The Mission will employ area residents and veterans enrolled in its agricultural training program.

See the full list of this year’s projects.

NRCS funds Conservation Innovation Grants through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. The maximum grant is $2 million per project, and projects can take up to three years. These projects are designed to engage eligible producers in conservation activities that accelerate the transfer and adoption of innovative technologies and approaches.

NRCS uses these grants to work with other public and private entities to accelerate transfer and adoption of promising technologies and approaches to address some of the nation’s most pressing natural resource concerns.