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USDA giving $26 million to spur agricultural innovation

Staff Writer |
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the investment of $26.6 million by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) into 45 projects.

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They will spur innovative conservation initiatives on both rural and urban farms across the country. Public and private grantees will provide matching investments, bringing the total value of support to $59 million.

The investment is made through USDA's Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program, which fosters innovation in conservation tools and strategies to improve things like on-farm energy and fertilizer use as well as market-based strategies to improve water quality or mitigate climate change.

The 2016 projects focus on water quality, conservation finance and assistance to historically underserved USDA customers.

Approximately 25 percent of the funding will go to projects that benefit historically underserved producers, military veterans, and new and beginning farmers.

With funding from this announcement, USDA has invested nearly $173 million to fund 414 national CIG projects since 2009.

For this round of funding, USDA received 170 applications requesting more than $100 million, which far exceeded the initial funding target of approximately $20 million.

USDA is making an investment of $26.6 million today, which will leverage an additional $32.5 million in matching investments from the grantees, more than doubling the federal investment.

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