DAVIS, Calif., May 4, 2011 /PR Newswire/ -- USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced $375,000 available for California to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies through its Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) for fiscal year 2011.
'I want to encourage California's agriculture community and partners to apply for this opportunity,' said Ed Burton, NRCS California State Conservationist. 'These grants provide funding to demonstrate innovative practices and technologies that will assist California's farmers and ranchers.'
Selected applicants may receive grants of up to 50 percent of the total project cost.
Applicants must provide non-Federal funding for at least 50 percent of the project cost.
Up to 50 percent (25 percent of the total project cost) of the applicant's match may be from in-kind contributions. The remainder must be cash.
These competitive grants seek to foster creative solutions to assist California's farmers and ranchers with emerging and traditional agricultural and natural resource issues. In addition to market-based approaches to conservation, emerging issues include energy conservation, specialty crops and new methods of tackling climate change. These grants will also fund solutions to improve water, soil and air quality, improve nutrient management and enhance wildlife habitat and pollinator populations. In addition, in 2011, NRCS is interested in evaluating the impacts of High Tunnel Systems (Hoop Houses) on soil, water, plant or related resources in order to quantify environmental benefits associated with this practice.
For the purposes of CIG, the proposed innovative project or activity must encompass the development and field testing, evaluation, and implementation of:
- Conservation adoption incentive systems, including market-based systems; or,
- Promising conservation technologies, practices, systems, and approaches.
CIG, a component of NRCS' Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), provides competitive grants to Federally-recognized Indian tribes, state and local units of governments, non-governmental organizations and individuals. CIG funds one-to-three year projects that target innovative on-the-ground conservation, including pilot projects and field demonstrations. The maximum federal contribution for each project is $75,000.
'This is a real opportunity for our University of California, California State University and Cooperative Extension offices to help expand our knowledge in key issues facing farmers and ranchers,' added Burton.
SOURCE USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service