INDIANAPOLIS — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is awarding more than $500,000 to innovative approaches and technologies to improve conservation in Indiana under the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program and a portion of $300,000 in a collaborative CIG project led by the state of Michigan.
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 these projects 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 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 NRCS Indiana State Conservationist Jerry Raynor. “CIG partners are using the latest science and research to come up with solutions that work for Indiana farmers and foresters and help ensure the longevity of American agriculture.”
In Indiana, the Maumee Watershed Alliance (MWA) will demonstrate phosphorus recovery technologies with the goal of demonstrating an 80% total phosphorus removal over extended demonstration periods. The demonstrations will be conducted at three locations with three different manure waste systems: deep-pit swine, dairy and mixed manure lagoon. The MWA will also explore the market value of recovered products from the lagoon to serve as a cost recovery mechanism and facilitate large scale adoption of the practice. Michigan and Ohio are also included in this CIG project.
In Michigan, the Heartland Corporate Holdings, LLC believes the incorporation of hemp into a soil health management system has the potential to positively impact soil biology and increase soil carbon. This project will introduce hemp as a cover crop in nine states, including Indiana and quantify its benefits.
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 more information about CIG, visit https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/financial/cig/.
For a full list of this year’s awarded projects, visit https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/programs/financial/cig/?cid=nrcseprd1855223.
— USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service