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DIGGING INTO SOIL HEALTH: USDA’s On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials support adoption of innovative practices on farmland. Three organizations in the Northeast received grants for this on-farm soil health research.

Farm bill funds new soil health projects in the Northeast

The On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials program was authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill.

North Jersey RC&D (Resource Conservation and Development) is one of three organizations in the Northeast that has received grants for on-farm soil health research.

North Jersey RC&D has been awarded $933,000 through the On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials program, a new component of Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill.

On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials support more widespread adoption of innovative approaches, practices and systems on working lands. Incentive payments are provided to producers to offset the risk of implementing innovative approaches.

The Soil Health Demo Trial component focuses on implementation of conservation practices and systems that improve soil health. Eligible entities that receive awards agree to follow consistent soil health assessment protocols to evaluate the impacts of practice and system implementation. 

In New Jersey, the money will be used to conduct a soil health demonstration that compares typical Northeast cover crop termination practices to innovative methods of delaying cover crop termination and cash crop planting.

Other grant winners are the University of Maryland, which is getting $1.6 million for a solutions-based evaluation of barriers to farmer adoption of in-season nitrogen decision support tools; and University of Vermont, which is getting $1.14 million for a project that looks at enhancing cover crops in northern corn silage systems.

Twenty-five farmers will be selected to participate in the New Jersey trial. They will be eligible for incentive payments to fund equipment purchases, fencing and other expenses.  

Of the 73 proposals submitted in the inaugural CIG On-Farm Trials competition, NRCS awarded $24.3 million to fund 16 projects that focus on public and private sector innovation in resource conservation.

Up to $25 million annually is available for On-Farm Trials. Funding goes directly to partners that provide technical assistance and incentive payments to producers to implement innovative approaches on their lands.

Producers receiving On-Farm Trials payments must be eligible to participate in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The maximum On-Farm Trials award for 2019 is $5 million; the minimum award is $250,000.

Source: North Jersey RC&D, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.
TAGS: Conservation
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