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California receives $3.1 million in conservation innovation grants

DAVIS, Calif., — Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman has announced the selection of six projects in California that will receive funds for innovative technologies and approaches to improve air, water and soil quality.

The grants are part of nearly $14,250,000 in grants that will fund the development and adoption of innovative technologies and approaches through pilot projects and conservation field trials, nationwide.

"These grants provide opportunities for public-private partnerships to accelerate technology transfer and implement promising technologies and approaches that will help farmers and ranchers protect the environment and comply with federal, state and local regulations," Veneman said.

"California should be very proud of the innovative work being done here, and the number of grants awarded in our state," said Chuck Bell, Natural Resources Conservation Service State Conservationist. California received the largest number of grants and funds nationally. "California1s grant recipients are leaders in the effort to bring technology, conservation, and effective farming practices together. This funding provides the means to promote and improve upon, the conservation practices available to our producers."

Grant recipients in California include:

California Dairy Campaign will receive $1 million to evaluate the environmental, social, and economic effects of new technologies in waste lagoon management integrated with irrigation management.

Protected Harvest will receive $999,982 to assist tree-fruit producers in meeting air quality, water quality and water conservation requirements in an environmentally sound manner.

California Sustainable Winegrowers will receive $475,000 to advance sustainable farming practices in the State’s winegrowing community.

Sustainable Conservation will receive $166,426 to encourage the widespread adoption of conservation tillage land treatment methods by western irrigated cotton and dairy forage producers in an effort to reduce agricultural air emissions in the San Joaquin Valley while maintaining robust production yields and improving farm profits.

Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association will receive $99,000 to develop a new conservation practice that can help solve chronic soil erosion problems in the central-coast region of California.

Hunter and Associates will receive $450,000 to study the treatment of hog manure utilizing the Autothermal Thermophilic Aerobic Digestion Technology to ascertain the treatment of manure and lagoons to improve air, water and soil environmental quality.

The USDA1s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers the grants as part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

Nationally, nearly 150 project proposals were submitted from eligible governmental and nongovernmental organizations and individuals. Selected proposals receive grants for up to 50 percent of the total project cost and must provide nonfederal matching funds for the remaining costs. This year the total cost of funded projects, including the cost sharing is more than $63 million.

Information on Conservation Innovation Grants can be found at

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