DAVIS, Calif. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting proposals through May 11 for On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials (On-Farm Trials), now in its second year. On-Farm Trials, part of the agency’s Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) program, help support the adoption and evaluation of innovative conservation approaches on agricultural land.
“The 2018 Farm Bill enhanced CIG by strengthening its demonstration component, allowing the agency to work with producers and partners to discover new conservation approaches and tools or enhance existing ones,” said NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr.
“Last year California was very pleased that East Stanislaus Resource Conservation District was among the first groups in the Nation to successfully apply for one of these innovative new trials,” says Carlos Suarez, State Conservationist for NRCS in California. “We hope more RCDs and other eligible groups will apply this year with ideas to help move California forward in cutting-edge conservation.”
“What is great about these demonstrations is that they add research elements to the program design that complement the technical and financial incentives,” said Trina Walley, ESRCD district manager. “The trials include data and economic analyses that farmers really appreciate, she added. Leaders in the soil health arena since 2015, ESRCD received $1.57 million last year to conduct soil health demonstration trials for orchard management systems in the Central Valley.
NRCS will invest up to $25 million on On-Farm Trials in 2020. This total includes up to $10 million for the Soil Health Demonstration Trials (SHD) priority.
On-Farm Trials funding offers, through partners, technical and financial assistance to help compensate producers for risks associated with applying new conservation practices and approaches. The trials also require evaluation of the innovative conservation approach at the farm level, including environmental, financial and social, (to the extent possible) impacts.
NRCS is seeking proposals that address at least one of the following:
- Irrigation Management Technologies;
- Precision Agriculture Technologies and Strategies;
- Management Technologies and Strategies; and
- Soil Health Demonstration Trials.
NRCS will accept proposals from the following eligible entities: Private entities whose primary business is related to agriculture; Non-government organizations with experience working with agricultural producers; and Non-Federal government agencies.
For more information, please visit the grants.gov funding opportunity for 2020 or visit NRCS’s On-Farm Trials webpage.
— USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
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