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September 1, 2023
USDA is allotting more money to conservation grants. On Thursday, the agency announced it would make $65 million available to producers through its Conservation Innovation Grants program. Approximately $25 million of that total will come through funding authorized by the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. That bill directed USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to prioritize climate mitigation efforts.
“This year’s Conservation Innovation Grants competition is unique in that we’re able to increase available funds because of President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, which will fund projects that address climate change, with a particular focus on solutions to reduce enteric methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas,” NRCS chief Terry Cosby says. “Science and innovation are the keys to helping farmers, ranchers and forest landowners succeed in the face of global challenges, like climate change. We’re eager to see what innovations come to fruition and can be integrated into our programs and tools, thanks to this influx of new funding.”
The grants will be awarded through two Conservation Innovation Grant program initiatives. The CIG On-Farm Trials initiative will distribute $50 million. It will prioritize programs addressing irrigation water management technologies, nutrient management, feeding management and enteric methane reduction, grazing lands and soil health demonstration trials.
The other $15 million in grants will come through CIG Classic. That program will prioritize forestry, habitat conservation and restoration for wildlife and invertebrates, managing agricultural lands to improve local water quality, energy conservation, economics and efforts to strengthen conservation using indigenous knowledge. The NRCS will give “strong consideration” to projects benefiting historically underserved communities.
Non-federal entities and individuals are eligible to apply. USDA is now accepting applications through Oct. 30.
Policy editor, Farm Progress
Joshua Baethge covers a wide range of government issues affecting agriculture. Before joining Farm Progress, he spent 10 years as a news and feature reporter in Texas. During that time, he covered multiple state and local government entities, while also writing about real estate, nightlife, culture and whatever else was the news of the day.
Baethge earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of North Texas. In his free time, he enjoys going to concerts, discovering new restaurants, finding excuses to be outside and traveling as much as possible. He is based in the Dallas area where he lives with his wife and two kids.
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