Little Rock, AR, June 3, 2019 – USDA announced it is investing up to $12.5 million to help support the adoption of innovative conservation approaches on agricultural lands.
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting proposals through July 30, 2019, for national Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG). CIG projects inspire creative problem-solving that boosts production on farms, ranches, and private forests. Ultimately, they improve water quality, soil health, and wildlife habitat. All U.S.-based non-Federal entities and individuals are eligible to apply.
“Conservation Innovation Grants enable partners to co-invest with NRCS on the next generation of agricultural conservation solutions,” said NRCS State Conservationist Mike Sullivan for Arkansas. “Conservation Innovation Grants have helped spur new tools and technologies to conserve natural resources, build resilience in their operations, and improve their bottom lines, and we’re excited to see what these proposals will offer.”
CIG support the development and field testing, on-farm research and demonstration, evaluation, or implementation of conservation technologies, practices, and systems and approaches to incentivizing conservation adoption. Grantees must match the CIG investment at least one to one.
The 2019 CIG priorities are:
The complete funding announcement information can be accessed through the Conservation Innovation Grants webpage at https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/financial/cig/. The National CIG program supports early pilot projects or demonstrations of promising conservation approaches.
National CIG program is distinct from the $25 million announced on May 15 for On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials. On-Farm Trials is a new CIG component created by the 2018 Farm Bill. On-Farm Trials include a Soil Health Demo Trial.
Applications for this national CIG must be submitted through Grants.gov by 5 p.m. Eastern Time on July 30, 2019. A webinar for potential applicants is scheduled for 12 p.m. Eastern on June 11, 2019. Information on how to participate in the webinar is posted on the CIG website.
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Offers Special Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) Sign Up for Arkansas Rice Producers
Little Rock, Ark. – Rice producers in 30 Arkansas counties in the Mid-South Graduated Water Stewardship Program Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) project area have until June 28, 2019, to apply for funding through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).
This special RCPP CSP sign-up is targeted for rice production acreage in Randolph, Clay, Lawrence, Greene, Independence, Craighead, Mississippi, Jackson, Poinsett, Cross, Crittenden, Woodruff, White, Faulkner, Conway, Pope, Saint Francis, Lee, Monroe, Prairie, Lonoke, Pulaski, Phillips, Arkansas, Jefferson, Lincoln, Desha, Drew, Ashley, and Chicot.
NRCS recently made several updates to CSP to help producers better evaluate their conservation options and the benefits to their operations and natural resources. New methods and software for evaluating applications help producers see up front why they are or are not meeting stewardship thresholds and allow them to choose practices and enhancements that work for their conservation objectives.
The RCPP project aims to assist landowners and rice producers that voluntarily implement conservation and management practices that help to improve irrigation water management, control sediment and nutrient runoff, and provide waterfowl habitat on rice production lands.
NRCS operates under a continuous sign-up. Producers interested in CSP are recommended to contact their local USDA service center or visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted. For a complete list of CSP enhancements visit the Arkansas NRCS web site at www.ar.nrcs.usda.gov.
NRCS Announces Sign-Up Period for Edge-of-Field Monitoring
LITTLE ROCK, Ark., April 15, 2019 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is making $2 million available this year to farmers in five states, including Arkansas, who are interested in installing edge-of-field monitoring stations on their agricultural lands to monitor water quality as it leaves their field. The stations provide data to evaluate the success of various conservation efforts.
The project area in Arkansas includes 20 targeted watersheds across the state. A map of the eligible watersheds is available on the Arkansas NRCS web site at www.ar.nrcs.usda.gov.
“Edge-of-field water quality monitoring helps us evaluate the benefits of conservation at the field level,” said Mike Sullivan, NRCS state conservationist for Arkansas. “This data helps farmers fine tune their conservation efforts and adapt how they manage their land. It’s a win-win for science and thriving agricultural lands.”
Interested producers should work with their local NRCS office to develop a monitoring concept, then submit applications by July 15, 2019, to ensure their applications are considered for funding in fiscal 2019.
Through edge-of-field monitoring, NRCS works with farmers and conservation partners, such as universities and non-governmental organizations, to monitor the amount of nutrients and sediment in water runoff from a field and compare the improvements under different conservation systems. This initiative helps farmers install and maintain the monitoring systems for up to nine years, giving time to measure the impact of conservation systems on water quality.
Testing the quality of water as it leaves a field helps farmers and NRCS understand which conservation practices work best at preventing sediment and nutrient runoff. Verifiable data gives farmers, NRCS and other partners information needed to make targeted conservation investments to improve water quality.
Monitoring stations enable NRCS to measure conservation benefits on water quality right at the edge of farm fields rather than try to estimate conservation effects from in-stream measurements that are subject to influences outside of the farmer’s control. Edge-of-field monitoring, combined with instream monitoring, can provide a more thorough picture of improvements within a watershed.
“Edge-of-field water quality monitoring will tell you exactly what is happening on your field, so you can make informed decisions regarding use of inputs and conservation practices,” Sullivan said. “These decisions will increase economic efficiency and maximize yields while also conserving natural resources.”
About the Program
NRCS first introduced edge-of-field monitoring as an opportunity through Farm Bill conservation programs in 2013, and there are currently over 40 sites nationwide. The fiscal 2019 funding is available to interested farmers in 194 watersheds across Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, New York and Washington.
The results of data collected will be maintained confidentially for farmers’ use and for use by the conservation partners responsible for monitoring.
For additional information about edge-of-field monitoring, contact your local USDA service center or visit the Arkansas website at www.ar.nrcs.usda.gov
Irrigation Water Management School
A conservation plan is the starting point for managing the natural resources on your farm or ranch while maintaining productive capacity and meeting individual objectives or goals. Every farm or ranch has its own unique natural resource concerns. Without the application of proper conservation systems and management, human activities may cause natural resource concerns. Check out this link for the 9 Steps of Conservation Planning:
Visit your local revenue office to purchase one of these specialty plates.
Winter Forage Conference
Grain Bin Rescue & Safety Training Program
Arkansas Grazing Lands Conference
All programs and services of the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Greene County Conservation District are offered on a nondiscriminatory basis without regard to race, religion, sex, age, disability, political beliefs and marital or family status.