June 19, 2017
Two Michigan projects were among the 33 selected nationwide for funding through the Conservation Innovation Grants program.
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service announced that the agency will award more than $22.6 million to drive public- and private-sector innovation in resource conservation.
The two grants for projects in Michigan were awarded to The Nature Conservancy and the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship. The Conservation Innovation Grants program helps develop the tools, technologies and strategies to support next-generation conservation efforts on working lands and develop market-based solutions to resource challenges. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis for proposals submitted by public and private entities.
The Nature Conservancy will receive a $328,077 grant to encourage the adoption of conservation practices by farmers through drain assessments. The goal of the project is to recognize and incentivize the establishment of conservation practices that improve the function or reduce the maintenance cost of publicly managed drain systems. In addition to The Nature Conservancy, project partners include Michigan Farm Bureau, the Monroe County Drain Commission and the Saginaw County Public Works Commissioner.
A grant of $503,000 was awarded to Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship for a two-year accredited apprenticeship program for historically underserved beginning dairy producers in Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The grant will provide for a comprehensive apprenticeship in managed-grazing dairy production including mentoring, financial advising, on-farm employment and farm transfer.
The maximum Conservation Innovation Grant is $2 million per project and the length of time for project completion is three years. The Natural Resources Conservation Service uses the grant program to work with other public and private entities to accelerate transfer and adoption of promising technologies and approaches to address some of the nation’s most pressing natural resource concerns.
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