Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has announced the State Soil Conservation Committee Research and Demonstration Fund has assistance available to support research or education/demonstration projects that explore sustainable agriculture and projects focused on reducing nonpoint pollution. Funds are available to collaborative teams of scientists, farmers, institutions, soil and water conservation districts and educators.
Applications must be submitted to the State Soil Conservation Committee by May 23 and funding decisions will be made in May with a July 1st projected start date.
"These funds are designed to help generate new techniques and conservation practices that can help landowners as they continue their work to better protect our soil and water," Northey said. "Landowners have many conservation tools available and this program is designed to help generate even more practices to reduce erosion and protect water quality."
There are two suggested priority areas, but proposals do not need to be limited to those and diverse projects are welcome. Proposals must address issues of nonpoint pollution control. Successful projects should be focused on sustaining and improving environmental quality or the natural resource base on which agriculture depends. Applications should also explain how the projects would enhance the quality of life for farmers, rural communities, and society as a whole.
Proposals should clearly explain expected outcomes for the project and how they will assist in working toward these objectives, how project outcomes will be evaluated, and the impact of projects.
"We are looking for projects that make a contribution to the greater good and help us continue towards our goal of better soil and water protection," said Jean Eells, a member of the State Soil Conservation Committee.
Funding level for the grant program is established by the State Soil Conservation Committee and it is anticipated that $500,000 will be available this year. Individual grants cannot exceed $75,000 total over a two year period.
More information about applying for assistance can be found at www.IowaAgriculture.gov and then click on "Conservation" at the top of the page. Interested applicants can also contact Tarrita Spicer with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship at 515-281-5851 or Tarrita.firstname.lastname@example.org.