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News Release

NRCS Announces Award of Grants to Further Conservation Efforts in the Caribbean Area

Jaime Valentín, State Resource Conservationist
787-766-5206 x.121

Plantains with a Canavalia ensiformis cover crop.

Release No.: 2014-08

Conservation Innovation Grants help improve technologies and approaches for natural resource conservation

September 16, 2014 – San Juan, PR – NRCS Caribbean Area Director, Edwin Almodóvar, announced today the award of $120,305 in State Conservation Innovation Grants (CIGs) to three projects to help develop and demonstrate cutting-edge ideas to accelerate innovation in private lands conservation. The three projects were selected from a total of 6 proposals submitted by organizations throughout Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

CIG grants promote creativity and problem-solving efforts to benefit Caribbean Area farmers and protect our unique natural resources,” Almodóvar said. “They’re critical in sparking new ideas and techniques to conserve our precious resources and improve the environment.”

The grants announced today focus on Soil Health, and are funded through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The Caribbean Area CIG awardees are:

  • Agro Tropical Inc. – was awarded $62,449 for their project, “Mechanized Cover Crops Management for improving soil health on steep and mountainous plantain farming areas in Puerto Rico;”
  • UPR – Estación Experimental Jardín Botánico – was awarded $27,271 for their project, “Appropriate On-Farm Compost Management of Agricultural Manures and Organic Residues;” and
  • UPR – Estación Experimental Jardín Botánico – was awarded $30,585 for their project, “Biological Tillage with Non-Conventional Cover Crops for Improving Soil Health.”

Soil Health is the foundation and future of sustainable agriculture, enabling producers to fare better against drought and other climatic extremes while increasing production. Healthy soils have greater water holding capacity, increase water infiltration, reduce soil erosion, decrease soil compaction, improve crop productivity, and improve our natural resource condition.

NRCS has offered Conservation Innovation Grants nationwide since 2004, investing in ways to demonstrate and transfer efficient and environmentally-friendly farming and ranching techniques. Most recently, the grants have helped develop trading markets for water quality, and have shown how farmers and ranchers may use fertilizer, water and energy more efficiently. To enhance the value and adoption of previous CIG results, a new search tool is available on the National NRCS website for previous CIG-awarded projects.

For details about CIG in the Caribbean Area, please contact Jaime Valentín, State Resource Conservationist, at 787-766-5206 x121, or visit the NRCS Caribbean Area Conservation Innovation Grants webpage.


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