Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the winning proposals for the 2011 Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG). Through CIG, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is investing nearly $22.5 million in innovative conservation technologies and approaches that address a broad array of existing and emerging natural resource issues.

"We’re announcing more than 52 grants today—these are 52 opportunities to help some of America’s top agricultural and conservation institutions, foundations and businesses develop unique approaches to enhancing and protecting natural resources on agricultural lands,” said Vilsack.  “The grants will help to spur creativity and problem solving to benefit conservation-minded farmers and ranchers. Everyone who relies upon the sustainability of our nation’s natural resources for clean water, food and fiber, or their way of life, will benefit from these grants.”

Besides advancing innovations that address erosion prevention and other natural resource issues, the 2011 CIG award winners will demonstrate the effectiveness of new ways to reduce odors from poultry and livestock operations, reclaim mining lands, develop ecosystem markets and expand solar energy use on farms. Grant winners pay 50 percent of project costs.

Projects will be carried out in 40 states. Eight of the approved grants support development of conservation innovations in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, and another eight focus on the Mississippi River Basin. 

A summary of all proposals selected for a 2011 Conservation Innovation Grant is available at www.nrcs.usda.gov.