County producers to present at Jan. 8 grazing conference

Natural Resources Conservation Service

BOISE — The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is offering grants for innovative ideas for conservation strategies and technologies. USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Idaho plans to invest $150,000 in the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program, funding innovative conservation projects in three focus areas: grazing lands, soil health and management to benefit threatened and endangered species or species of greatest conservation need.

Grant proposals are due May 11, 2018.

“Conservation Innovation Grants play a critical role in developing and implementing new methods to help our customers conserve natural resources, strengthen their local communities, and improve their bottom lines,” said Jerry Raynor, Acting State Conservationist in Boise. “Today's announcement supports our efforts to help producers build economically-strong and resilient farms and ranches by providing producers tools to utilize across their working farmlands.”

The NRCS uses CIG to work with partners to accelerate transfer and adoption of promising technologies and approaches that address some of the nation’s most pressing natural resource concerns. This year, NRCS is focusing funding in these areas:

• Grazing Lands: Helping livestock producers make grazing management decisions and improving access to conservation planning tools used for developing grazing management plans.

• Soil Health: Supporting both cropping and grazing systems, in a variety of climatic zones, that incorporate soil health management systems for addressing specific resource concerns like nutrients and availability. Evaluating multiple soil health assessment methods to assist in the development of new soil health indicators and thresholds.

• Management to Benefit Threatened and Endangered Species (T&E) or Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN): Helping producers to adopt science-sound management actions that benefit targeted T&E species or SGCN or using the development of new technology to implement adaptive management decisions based on monitoring and natural resource goals and objectives.

“Every sector of American agriculture has its unique conservation challenges,” Raynor said. “CIG enables USDA to help support new, innovative tools and techniques which have helped U.S. agriculture become the powerhouse we see today, leading the world in both production efficiency and conservation delivery.”

Potential applicants should review the announcement of program funding available at www.grants.gov , which includes application materials and submission procedures.

CIG is authorized and funded under the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Projects can last up to three years. The maximum award amount for any project in Idaho this year is $75,000.

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