Thirty-three Conservation Innovation Grants have been awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to entities across the nation to develop and demonstrate cutting-edge ideas to accelerate private lands conservation.

Grant 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,” says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “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 says.

As climate changes, 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, he says.

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.

A full list of recipients is available here.

For more on this grant program, visit USDA's Conservation Innovation Grants webpage or contact your local NRCS office.