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News Release

Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG)

Conservation Priority Report Louisiana

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were established to fund projects that would stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies.  The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers Conservation Innovation Grants as part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

Grants are awarded to state and local governments, federally recognized Indian tribes, non-governmental organizations, and individuals.  NRCS uses CIG to invest in innovative, on-the-ground conservation technologies and approaches with the goal of wide-scale adoption to address water quality and quantity, air quality, energy conservation, and environmental markets, among other natural resource issues.

Funding for Conservation Innovation Grants is announced each year through a funding notice, and funds are awarded through a nationwide competitive grants process.  In addition, states have an opportunity to conduct an annual competitive process.

FY 2011 Projects Announced
State Awarded Project
Irrigation Pumping Plant Efficiency Tests for Rice Producers
Awardee:  LSU AgCenter
This project will demonstrate and conduct irrigation pumping plant efficiency tests for rice producers and empower and facilitate the development of "third-party" auditors to conduct these tests for crop producers across Louisiana.

Nationally Awarded Projects
In August 2011, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, announced 52 winning proposals for 2011 . 
Two of the winning proposals will be carried out in Louisiana: 

Precision Nitrogen Injection Using Integrated Optical Sensing and Variable Rate Technologies
Project Locations: 
Awardee:  University of Tennessee
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.

Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops
Project Locations:
Awardee:  SureHarvest
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 was awarded to continue an unprecedented collaboration amongst the nation’s most influential grower organizations, NGOs, and buyers of specialty crop products.  This 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.


United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service



For More Information

List of All 2011 Conservation Innovation Grants Awardees

Conservation Innovation Grants Fact Sheet

For more information about
Conservation Innovation Grants
please contact:

National CIG Program Manager
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
1400 Independence Avenue SW
Room 6227-S
Washington, DC  20250
Telephone:  (202) 720-8071
Fax:  (202) 720-4839


Scott Edwards
State Resource Conservationist
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
3737 Government Street
Alexandria, Louisiana  71302
Telephone:  (318) 473-7774

Additional information is available at:

For more information about grant opportunities with the
federal government, go to:





For more information on the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service or Soil and Water Conservation Districts, contact your local Natural Resources Conservation Service office or Soil and Water Conservation District.

Commitment to Equality
USDA believes every farmer and rancher should be treated equally and fairly, and we are committed to resolving all cases involving allegations of past discrimination by individuals.

Referral Guide for USDA Settlements and Claims Adjudication Process

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Women and Hispanic Farmers and Ranchers Claims Adjudication Process
If you believe that USDA improperly denied farm loan benefits to you for certain time periods between 1981 and 2000 because you are a female or because you are Hispanic, you may be eligible to apply for compensation.  To request a claims package by telephone, call 1-888-508-4429.  To request a claims package online, please visit

Native American Farmer and Rancher Class Action Settlement (Keepseagle v. Vilsack)
If you are a Native American who was denied a farm loan or loan servicing by the USDA between January 1, 1981, and November 24, 1999, you may be eligible for benefits from a Class Action Settlement.  To request a claims package by telephone, call:  1-888-233-5506.  To request a claims package online, or for more information, please visit:

African American Farmer and Rancher Class Action Settlement (Pigford II)
If you are an African American farmer (a) who submitted a request to file a late claim on or between October 13, 1999, and June 18, 2008, under the 1999 USDA settlement in the earlier class action known as Pigford v. Glickman ("Pigford") and (b) who did not receive a merits determination on your discrimination claim, you may be eligible for benefits from a Class Action Settlement.  To hear information by telephone, call 1-866-950-5547 or 1-866-472-7826.  To find information online, please visit:

USDA NRCS Access Opportunity Equity Partnerships

To find out more about this conservation opportunity and more, contact your local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service:  Office Locator