NRCS Awards Grants to Promote Farm Bill Conservation Activities

AUGUST 3 –– The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) awarded $158,927 in grants to the University of Missouri and Healthy Woods and Wildlife, LLC, to promote public awareness and implementation of Farm Bill conservation activities.

“The proposals that were reviewed for funding were very innovative,” Assistant State Conservationist for Partnerships and Initiatives Karen Brinkman said. “We’re hopeful that the three funded proposals will provide and expand on conservation concepts that we hope to make available to farmers, ranchers and foresters in the coming months.”

The University of Missouri was awarded two grants totaling $149,972. The first proposal looks to establish farm level demonstrations using riparian buffers, cover crops and biochar combined with no-till practices to promote and increase regional adoption of these conservation practices. The major goal of this proposal is to demonstrate that these practices can increase farm income, improve soil health, reduce non-point source pollution to water and provide other ecosystem services.

Missouri’s second proposal aims to help agricultural producers identify the best time to terminate cover crops to maximize soil erosion benefits and obtain maximum yield benefits for established crops. University staff will look for any additive effects of management choices on soil health changes during the growing season in correlation to grain yield.

Awarded $8,955, the Healthy Woods and Wildlife, LLC, project will look at Forest Stand Improvement (FSI) during certain portions of the year and within proximity to known colonies of endangered bat species. This project will work to identify proper application methods, dose, and herbicide which are unknown for individual tree species. This project is intended to determine the most effective combination of herbicide, rate, and hack spacing to effectively kill a variety of target species in Missouri’s forests, while minimizing the amount of herbicide applied, time invested, and most importantly, negative non-target effects.

“I’m pleased that we have been able to fund these three grant proposals in Missouri,” State Conservationist J.R. Flores said. “The two proposals from the University of Missouri speak to the topic of soil health, which is a major component of our conservation efforts in NRCS. The Healthy Woods and Wildlife proposal addresses a significant concern in the area of forestry and bat habitat. I look forward to seeing all three of these groups succeed in their efforts to advance the field of conservation while providing benefits to today’s farmers, ranchers and foresters.”

For more information on the Conservation Innovation Grants, visit the Missouri NRCS website at www.mo.nrcs.usda.gov.