USDA Awards $25 million for Conservation Innovation Projects


The USDA announced its awarding $25 million to conservation partners across the country for 18 new projects under the Conservation Innovation Grants On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials program. The On-Farm Trials’ projects support the widespread adoption and evaluation of innovative conservation approaches in partnership with farmers and ranchers. This year’s awarded projects accomplish goals like increasing the adoption of new approaches and technologies to help agricultural producers mitigate the effects of climate change, increasing the resilience of their operations, and boosting soil health.

“Farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners play a crucial role in charting the course towards a climate-smart future,” says Terry Cosby, Natural Resources Conservation Service boss. “On-Farm Trials enable partners to work with producers to test and adopt new climate-smart systems on their operations that support agricultural production and conserve natural resources, while also building climate resilience.” Among the many awarded projects, one is called “Climate-Smart Irrigation for Drought, Fertility, and Structural Resilience on Almond Systems,” with the study located in California. Another project in both California and Oregon will study irrigation projects for the future. Other Conservation Innovation Grants cover studies on flood irrigation water management, low-cost gravity-powered drip irrigation, enhanced efficiency fertilizers, methane emissions in dairy cattle, and many other topics.