COLUMBUS, December 18, 2019 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is awarding about $12.5 million in grants nationally to support the development of innovative systems and technologies for private lands conservation, including the multistate Appalachian Sustainable Development project which includes Ohio.
The funding is provided through the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program, which is funding the future of agriculture and conservation through grants to organizations and universities that are developing the next generation of tools and technologies to boost conservation on agricultural lands.
“This project is tackling some of our most critical challenges – both here in Ohio and across the country, said NRCS State Conservationist Terry Cosby. “This work will help small, historically underserved forest owners with new science-based tools to improve the health of their operations and protect our natural resources 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. NRCS selected 19 projects for CIG awards.
The Appalachian Sustainable Development project will create a transferable economic incentive system for use by small, historically underserved forest owners to conserve threatened forest ecosystems and regenerate previously mined and mono-cropped land. The project focuses on using market-based incentives to help forest owners pilot the alley cropping of high value forest botanicals using NRCS’s Multi-Story Cropping conservation practice. This multistate project includes Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia and was funded for $386,539.