USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is awarding $25 million in grants designed to help partners implement and evaluate innovative conservation practices that have demonstrated benefits on farmland. The funding is provided through On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials (On-Farm Trials), a component of the Conservation Innovation Grants program first authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill.
“On-Farm Trials help producers improve the health of their operations while at the same time helping NRCS build data to show the benefit of innovative conservation systems and practices applied on the land,” said Carlos Suarez, NRCS State Conservationist in California.
On-Farm Trials awardees work with NRCS and farmers and ranchers to implement innovative practices and systems on their lands that have not yet been widely adopted by producers. Awardees are required to evaluate the conservation and economic outcomes from these practices and systems, giving partners, producers and NRCS critical information to inform conservation work in the future.
Fourteen projects are receiving On-Farm Trials awards, including six awards under the banner of the Soil Health Demonstration Trial. These six projects focus on the adoption and evaluation of soil health management systems and practices. The remaining projects focus on irrigation water management, precision agriculture and a variety of management technologies.
This year’s awarded projects in California include:
- American Farmland Trust will stimulate the adoption of various soil health practices by involving farms in a coast-to-coast Soil Health Demonstration project demonstrating regionally appropriate soil health strategies across three regions covering seven states and six cropping systems. Through soil sampling, in-field assessment, and crop management protocols AFT will track the short-term soil, economic, and social changes occurring as farms transition to full soil health management systems.
- Candidus, Inc. will implement and demonstrate an advanced greenhouse lighting control system coupled with site-specific lighting strategies, in cooperation with greenhouses in three states, with the goal of improving greenhouse energy efficiency and increasing profitability for growers.
To learn more, visit the On-Farm Trials website.