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News Release

USDA Invests in 22 New Projects to Spur Innovation in Grazing Lands, Organic Systems and Soil Health


For more information contact:
Katherine K. Burse, State Public Affairs Officer
PH: 615-277-2533


NASHVILLE, July 31, 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 Tennessee. 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 Tennessee,” said Robert Anderson, Acting 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 Tennessee’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.

One project will combine the efforts of Tennessee, Georgia, and Mississippi via a proposal submitted by The University of Georgia Research Foundation, Inc.  The University of Georgia proposes to demonstrate how a living mulch approach improves soil health in row-crop systems in Georgia and Mississippi, and dairy production systems in Tennessee. This project will promote the use of a perennial legume as a living mulch by carrying out on-farm demonstrations and documenting improved soil health at the farm level.

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 conservation 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.

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