COLUMBUS, Ohio — USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Ohio has announced the winning proposals funded for the 2020 Ohio Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG). Ohio NRCS awarded three new CIG projects, each project was awarded approximately $150K and brought at least a 1:1 match in-kind and/or cash to the project:
American Farmland Trust
AFT is launching a project to improve water quality in the Upper Scioto River Watershed focused on changing the form of phosphorus fertilizer applied by farmers and thereby eliminating an unessential nitrogen application in the fall. With funding from the Ohio NRCS CIG, AFT will incentivize agricultural producers in the watershed to switch fertilizers. AFT hopes to significantly reduce nitrate loading and improve the drinking water in the watershed and downstream communities, including the cities of Columbus and Marysville, as well as improve the water quality of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers ultimately improving the hypoxic dead zone in the northern Gulf of Mexico.
Bowling Green State University
This project will explore the technical feasibility and commercial viability of using an innovative multi-species aquaponics system to convert nutrients in agricultural drainage systems into marketable products (e.g., tilapia, bait crayfish, and crops) while reducing nutrient discharge to waterways in the Western Lake Erie Basin.
Central State University
In this project, CSU expects to apply the well-studied manure application practice in agriculture to hemp production and evaluate and demonstrate the soil health and water quality benefits while maximizing crop yield. The project findings will inform decision making involving manure application in hemp production and will communicate the outputs and outcomes of the project to licensed hemp growers in Ohio through field days and workshops.
“The core principle of CIG is innovation and pushing new conservation technologies, strategies, and approaches forward for Ohio farmers,” said Terry Cosby, state conservationist for Ohio NRCS. “Each year, Ohio looks at our key needs in innovation and the three projects awarded target areas of improvement important to Ohio’s natural resources.”
Ohio NRCS sought new proposals for cutting-edge projects that would provide new conservation opportunities with its CIG program. NRCS CIG emphasizes projects that have a goal of providing benefits within a limited geographic area. Ohio priorities in fiscal year 2020 were soil health, water quality and forestry-based sustainable natural ecosystem projects.
For more information on the CIG program visit Ohio NRCS CIG webpage.
— USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
For more articles out of Ohio, click here.