NRCS Partners in California Receive $1.3 Million for Conservation Innovations

DanFunding, USDA-NRCS

The funding is split between two state-specific projects and a national project that includes California

Two California organizations, and one national organization, have been selected to receive a combined $1.3 million through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) nationally-awarded Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG). All nrcsthree projects support soil health innovations.

“These grants will help spur creativity and problem-solving on California’s farms and ranches,” said Jeff White, NRCS acting state conservationist in California. “The projects continue California’s commitment to soil health and its management across the landscape.”

CIG grants awarded are as follows:

  • The Napa County Resource Conservation District (RCD) will promote soil health assessments and field trial monitoring to support soil health management system adoption in California’s North Coast vineyards.
  • The University of California Regents will work with growers to incorporate highly productive organic no-till vegetable cropping systems in California.
  • The American Farmland Trust will work with farmers in California and four other states to accelerate soil health adoption by quantifying economic and environmental outcomes and overcoming barriers on rented land.

“This is indeed very exciting and a huge breakthrough for the RCDs in the Northern San Francisco Bay Area to expand and enhance our soil health programs,” said Charles Schembre, vineyard conservation coordinator for the Napa County RCD. “On behalf of Mendocino, Napa, and Sonoma County RCDs and our close partners, I would like to extend are greatest gratitude to the USDA for recognizing and supporting our work and the agricultural industries in Northern California.

“We’re very excited about this new CIG Project that will bring together six outstanding organic vegetable farmers in California to work together to design and refine new, reduced disturbance no-till systems at their farms,” said Jeff Mitchell of UC Davis Extension. “The project also has research partners at UC Davis, Chico State and Fresno State who’ll be working with the farmers to help them to test the new production paradigms.”

Information on the three CIG awardees can be found at

NRCS administers CIG as part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. NRCS uses CIG to invest in innovative conservation technologies and approaches with the goal of wide-scale adoption to address a wide range of natural resource issues.

NRCS has provided leadership in a partnership effort to help America’s private landowners and managers conserve their soil, water and other natural resources since 1935. For more information on NRCS, visit