Monday, June 12, 2017

USDA Awards 2017 Conservation Innovation Grants: almost $2 mil in Florida projects

USDA Awards 2017 Conservation Innovation Grants

GAINESVILLE, Fla. June 8, 2017 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is awarding $22.6 million to 33 projects nationwide through the 2017 Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program. The program awards competitive grants to local and state units of governments, American Indian tribes and individuals. Public and private grantees will provide matching investments. The maximum grant is $2 million per project, and the length of time for project completion is three years.

The 2017 projects focus on conservation finance and pay-for-success models to stimulate conservation adoption, data analytics for natural resources, and water management technologies and approaches. Approximately 10 percent of the funding will go to projects that benefit historically underserved producers, military veterans and new and beginning farmers. One project invests $900,000 nationally to mitigate risks and encourages investors and project developers to help implement agriculture and conservation projects. Florida was funded for three projects totaling almost $2 million:

Pathogen/Nutrient Abatement in Animal Biosolids Using Innovative Plasma Arc Venturi Technology, $431,874

The MagneGas Corporation and Lake Branch Dairy Farm proposes to demonstrate a plasma arc system to convert biowaste liquid into sanitized liquid and clean energy gas products. The system will processes liquid waste into sanitized biosolids for agricultural use to reduce or eliminate the use of lagoon waste collection systems and waste pits under and around animal feeding operations.

Introducing Innovative Conservation Approaches and Technologies Disadvantaged and Veteran Livestock Producers in Florida, $493,500

New North Florida Cooperative Association proposes to link small-scale, underserved farmers with federal conservation programs and alternative market opportunities. The project uses group training sessions, including lectures, field and hands-on activities at demonstration training sites in Florida.

Equitable Access for Sustained Productivity, $985,423  

The Conservation Fund proposes to address three traditional barriers for historically underserved and veteran farmers and ranchers—lack of access to capital, agricultural business training and sustainable agriculture methods—to improve the ability of these populations to make a living in agriculture. Among other deliverables, the project will foster a network of community development financial institutions to provide loans and business assistance.

Read and download the full list of this fiscal year’s selected projects.  CLICK HERE to view the list through an interactive map. The announcement for CIG program funding can be found on Completed applications should be submitted through with a pdf to To learn about technical and financial assistance available from NRCS, go to Getting Started with NRCS.

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