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News Release

USDA to Invest $2.3M in Tools and Technologies to Support Conservation Innovation in Virginia

Stacey Bradshaw

Richmond, Va., December 18, 2019 – If you had to choose between feeding the world or preserving the environment, what decision would you make? It’s a tough call that has been the subject of much debate. What if the two weren’t mutually exclusive?

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has spent the last 84 years helping landowners increase productivity while protecting vital natural resources. Today, the agency collaborates with a host of public and private sector partners to support the development of innovative systems and technologies to help farmers improve the health of their operations and land.

Nineteen new projects funded through the USDA NRCS Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program will support organizations and universities that are developing the next generation of tools and technologies to boost conservation on agricultural lands.

“These projects are tackling some of our most critical challenges in Virginia and across the nation,” said NRCS State Conservationist Jack Bricker. “This work inspires creative problem-solving, developing systems and technologies that boost production on farms and private forests while improving water quality, soil health and wildlife habitat for the future.”

The 2019 funding pool focused on four priority areas: water quantity, urban agriculture, pollinator habitat and accelerating the pace and scale of conservation adoption. About $2.3 million of the total $12.5 million award will go to four collaborations focused on or including Virginia in the study area.

  • Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University – $882,922 to explore the use of pollinator-friendly species in Southeastern grazing systems (Va. and Tenn.)
  • American Forest Foundation – $700,000 to pilot an innovative carbon accounting system to unlock these markets for small, privately-owned forest plots (Md., Pa., Va., W.Va.)
  • Appalachian Sustainable Development – $386,539 to explore market-based incentives to help small, historically underserved forest land owners pilot alley cropping of high value forest botanicals (Ky., N.C., Ohio, Tenn., Va., W.Va.)
  • University of Kentucky – $361,674 to monitor and analyze ecological and economic effects of horse farm participation in the NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program (Ky., Va.)

The Conservation Innovation Grants webpage includes a full list of projects selected for CIG awards. To learn more about Virginia activities, contact NRCS CIG Program Manager Stacey Bradshaw (804-287-1673) or visit