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News Release

USDA Funds Conservation Innovation in Louisiana and Nationally Through On-Farm Trials of Conservation Systems

Amy Robertson

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is awarding $25 million in grants designed to help partners implement and evaluate innovative conservation practices that have demonstrated benefits on farmland.

The funding is provided through On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials (On-Farm Trials), a component of the Conservation Innovation Grants program first authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill.

“On-Farm Trials help producers improve the health of their operations while at the same time helping NRCS build data to show the benefit of innovative conservation systems and practices applied on the land,” Chad Kacir, State Conservationist for NRCS in Louisiana.

Texas A&M Agrilife Research was awarded $2,231,261 to work in collaboration with commodity boards and grower networks and with soybean, corn, and cotton producers across 8 states, including Louisiana, to enhance on-farm adoption of integrated herbicide resistant weed management practices through a focus on cover crops and harvest weed seed control.

Louisiana is also included in a project awarded to the University of Illinois in the amount of $4,000,000. The University of Illinois, in collaboration with Washington State University’s Extension Program and cotton, corn, soy, and wheat producers, plan to deploy a data-intensive crop management system based on on-farm precision experiments. Farmers will use these tools to conduct site-specific, data-based evaluation of the yield costs of reducing nitrogen losses, enabling data-informed input management decisions.

On-Farm Trials awardees work with NRCS and farmers and ranchers to implement innovative practices and systems on their lands that have not yet been widely adopted by producers. Awardees are required to evaluate the conservation and economic outcomes from these practices and systems, giving partners, producers and NRCS critical information to inform conservation work in the future.

Fourteen projects are receiving On-Farm Trials awards, including six awards under the banner of the Soil Health Demonstration Trial. These six projects focus on the adoption and evaluation of soil health management systems and practices. The remaining projects focus on irrigation water management, precision agriculture and a variety of management technologies.

For a list of all of the awardees or to learn more, visit the On-Farm Trials website.