From the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition:
USDA recently announced the availability of funding through the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program. The FY 2013 request for pre-proposals lists several major project categories, including soil health and co-management of conservation and food safety. The list also includes projects that address beginning, underserved, and small-scale producers, energy conservation, nutrient management, economics, wildlife habitat, and adaptive management.
I know that some of you have already begun putting together proposals. We think that this year's CIG announcement provides a great opportunity for NSAC members to submit proposals. In some cases, it might make a lot of sense for two or more members to partner together in submitting a proposal.
For more information on the specific types of projects that NRCS is seeking (and a copy of the RFP), see our recent blog post. I've pasted several bullets from the soil health list below, just as an example (this is not an exhaustive list):
- Demonstrate and quantify the impacts of cover crops, crop rotations, tillage and/or soil amendments on soil chemical, physical, and/or biological properties and their relationships with nutrient cycling, soil water availability, and plant growth.
- Develop optimal species mixes, seeding rates and seeding methods (e.g., inter-seeding, inter-cropping, frost-seeding) to enhance cover crop establishment/survival and increase soil organic matter.
- Demonstrate and quantify impacts of soil health promoting practices (e.g., no-till, cover crops, crop rotations) on yield, yield variability, and economics of crop production across a range of soils, cropping systems, and climates.