DES MOINES, IOWA, Dec. 13, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is awarding $1.6 million to innovative approaches and technologies to improve conservation in Iowa 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) Iowa State Conservationist Jon Hubbert. “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.”
Two of the 19 2021 projects will allow Iowa landowners to participate:
Women, Food and Agriculture Network (WFAN): Stewardship Ambassadors - Women Landowners Educating Farmers and other Landowners to Motivate Conservation Change ($402,040) 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.
The Ohio State University: High Clearance Robotic Irrigator for In-Season Nutrient Management ($1,204,004) The 360 High Clearance Robotic Irrigation System for in-season nutrient applications will be demonstrated. This system aligns nutrient application timing to a crop’s nutrient needs and improves irrigation efficiency, having high probability of impacting water quality and reducing evaporation.
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.
About the CIG Program
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 a full list of this year’s awarded projects, visit the NRCS website.