Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has announced the award of 33 Conservation Innovation Grants. These grants were awarded to entities across the country to develop and demonstrate cutting-edge ideas to accelerate private lands conservation.

Recipients will demonstrate innovative approaches to improve soil health, conserve energy, manage nutrients and enhance wildlife habitat in balance with productive agricultural systems.

USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service administers this competitive grants program.



"Conservation Innovation Grants activate creativity and problem-solving to benefit conservation-minded farmers and ranchers," Vilsack said.

"These grants are critical for developing and demonstrating new ideas for conservation on America's private lands and strengthening rural communities. Everyone relies on our nation's natural resources for food, fiber, and clean water and will benefit from these grants."



"The Conservation Innovation Grant program brings together the strength and innovation of the private and non-profit sectors, academia, producers, and others to develop and test cutting-edge conservation tools and technologies and work side-by-side with producers to demonstrate how solutions work on the land," NRCS Chief Jason Weller said.



As climate changes and extreme weather events are becoming more common, these partnership grants drive cutting-edge conservation techniques that can make our nation's landscape more resilient to these changes.



The awards total $13.3 million.

Six of the approved grants support conservation technologies and approaches to help farmers and ranchers who historically have not had equal access to agricultural programs because of race or ethnicity, or who have limited resources, or who are beginning farmers and ranchers.

Among the grants that will impact the Southeast are those listed below.