Vilsack highlights conservation during Midwest farm visit

MOLINE, Ill., – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack last week announced the award of $15.7 million in
Conservation Innovation Grants (CIGs) to 47 organizations that will help develop and demonstrate
cutting-edge ideas to accelerate innovation in private lands conservation. The Secretary made the
announcement while visiting a farm in Illinois.
"These grants promote creativity and problem-solving efforts that benefit farmers and ranchers and
protect our natural resources," Vilsack said. "They’re critical in sparking new ideas and
techniques for conservation on America’s private lands and improving the environment."
The grants announced are funded through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. Grantees must work
with producers and forestland owners to develop and demonstrate the new technologies and approaches. At
least 50 percent of the total cost of CIG projects must come from non-federal matching funds, including
cash and in-kind contributions provided by the grant recipient.
The National Corn Growers Association and the National Association of Conservation Districts, both
involved with conservation activities in Illinois, are receiving grant awards to demonstrate the use of
best management practices such as conservation tillage, cover crops and advanced nutrient management to
address soil health concerns. Almost half of the grants announced support the agency’s priority of
getting more conservation on the ground by improving the health of our nation’s soils. The National Corn
Growers Association will receive almost $1 million to promote soil management practices aimed at
improving productivity, profitability and environmental outcomes in seven states. The National
Association of Conservation Districts will receive $750,000 to fund a project to significantly increase
the number of farmed acres nationwide (including Illinois) that are successfully managed for soil
health.
A full list of recipients is available here:
http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/financial/cig/.
Ohio was among the recipients of several states to be part of a nearly $1 million grant to National Corn
Growers Association, along with Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin.
That grant will address the need for improved soil health and water quality by developing recommendations
to farmers on a variety of soil management practices aimed at improving productivity, profitability and
environmental outcomes; increasing adoption of those recommendations beyond the network of demonstration
farms; increasing the visibility and importance of sound soil management and agricultural sustainability
to crop producers and the general public.
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For more on this grant program, visit USDA’s Conservation Innovation Grants webpage