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News Release

USDA Funds Innovative Approaches and Technologies to Improve Conservation on Private Lands in Wisconsin

Madison, Wis.  Dec. 13, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is awarding $1,092,317 to innovative approaches and technologies to improve conservation in Wisconsin under the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program. Nationally, $15 million is being awarded to conservation partners across the country for 19 projects. The funded projects focus on helping agricultural producers mitigate the effects of climate change and increase the resilience of their operations. Many of the projects within this announcement will focus on providing conservation benefits for historically undeserved producers. 

CIG is a competitive program that supports the development of new tools, approaches, practices and technologies to further natural resource conservation on private lands. Through creative problem solving and innovation, CIG harnesses the expertise, resources, and capacity of partner organizations nationwide to help us boost natural resource conservation on private lands and support climate smart agriculture.  

“Innovation is key to addressing the climate crisis and conserving the natural resources we all depend on,” said Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Wisconsin State Conservationist Angela Biggs. “CIG partners are using the latest science and research to come up with solutions that work for farmers, ranchers and foresters and help ensure the longevity of American agriculture.”

Project: Incentivizing Conservation Adoption through New Digital Marketplace Tools and Price Discovery 

Croatan Institute 

$690,277 

Lead State: WI 

States Involved: CO, MA, ME, MO, WI 

Integrating the cost of conservation into the market could help incentivize conservation adoption. Using high tech market tools for food transactions, this project brings together farmers and food buyers to help establish market values, allowing producers compensation for the risks and inputs of pre-defined attributes. 

Project: Stewardship Ambassadors - Women Landowners Educating Farmers and other Landowners to Motivate Conservation Change 

Women, Food and Agriculture Network (WFAN) 

$402,040 

Lead State: IA 

States Involved: IA, IL, KS, MN, ND, NE, SD, WI 

In order to expand the implementation of regenerative conservation practices, this project will establish a stewardship ambassador program for women beginning farm owners. The program will further use learning circles to enhance communication, address barriers, and find community building opportunities with local conservation leadership. 

Funding priorities for this year included: climate-smart strategies for water resources; soil health (focused on climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience); nutrient management; grazing lands conservation; and strategies to increase conservation adoption.

For a full list of this year’s awarded projects, visit the NRCS website

About the CIG Program 

The national CIG program has two parts: CIG Classic and CIG On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials. Through CIG Classic, partners develop new tools, technologies and strategies to support next-generation conservation efforts on working lands and develop market-based solutions to resource challenges. CIG On-Farm Trials support more widespread adoption of innovative approaches, practices and systems on working lands. NRCS and partners collaborate to implement on-the-ground conservation activities and then evaluate their impact. In November, NRCS awarded $25 million for 18 On-Farm Trials projects.  

USDA is a leader in using the latest science, research and conservation tools to reduce the impacts of climate change and is helping America’s farmers and ranchers conserve natural resources, like clean air and water, while supporting the health and resiliency of their operations for the future. CIG harnesses the expertise, resources and capacity of partner organizations nationwide to help boost natural resource conservation on private lands and support climate smart agriculture.  

For more information about CIG, visit the NRCS website

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov/.

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