03 November 2020
Farmers needed for $4 million conservation innovation grant
Baton Rouge, LA – The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) just awarded a $4 million grant to the fifteen-state Data-Intensive Farm Management project to work with participating farmers to improve the efficiency of cotton, corn, soy, and wheat producers’ fertilizer and seed management on US cropland. The project is titled “Improving the Economic and Ecological Sustainability of US Crop Production through On-Farm Precision Experimentation.” The research will develop and deploy a data-intensive crop management system based on on-farm precision experiments. Farmers will use these tools to conduct site-specific, data-based evaluations of the economic and environmental impacts of site-specific nitrogen, phosphorous and seed rate management strategies.
The project is specifically recruiting producers in the states of Arkansas, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Texas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Washington, but cotton, corn, soybean, and wheat farmers from any state can apply to participate. There are monetary incentives for participation and reimbursement for installation of trials on farmer’s fields.
The Data-Intensive Farm Management project is led by University of Illinois agricultural economist David Bullock, counting with key personnel in the Project Management Committee (Luciano Shiratsuchi (Louisiana State Univerity); Bruce Maxwell and John Shepard (Montana State University); Laila Puntel and Susan VanderPlas (University of Nebraska - Lincoln); Haying Tao (Washington State University). “The great thing about this award is that it gives us funding to make sure that every year we can increase the profits of participating farmers and their crop consultants,” Bullock says.
“We think that the field trials we will be running are truly revolutionary, but we need interested farmers and crop consultants to contact us right away so we are ready to go in spring 2021. Contact us through the Data-Intensive Farm Management project website to express your interest.”
“This is exciting and impressive news for researchers and producers,” University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences Dean Kim Kidwell says. “David and his team have been successfully working on these transformational ideas for years. The NRCS award recognizes their innovative approach and will allow for even greater impacts on the livelihood of farmers across the country.”
NRCS is awarding $25 million in grants designed to help partners implement and evaluate innovative conservation practices that have demonstrated benefits on farmland. The DIFM project received the largest of 14 awards.
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 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.
“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,” NRCS Acting Chief Kevin Norton says.
Six of the awards 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.
23 July 2020