The winning proposals funded for 2012 Arkansas Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) have been announced. Four projects have been awarded more than $180,000 to develop conservation approaches to deal with phosphorous runoff, energy efficiency and irrigation management.
“CIG invests in innovative, on-the-ground conservation technologies and approaches, with the eventual goal of wide-scale NRCS adoption to address water quality and quantity, air quality, energy conservation, and environmental markets, among other natural resource issues,” said Mike Sullivan, Arkansas state conservationist for the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
NRCS administers CIGs as part of the agency's Environmental Quality Incentives Program. Grants are awarded to state and local governments, federally-recognized Indian tribes, non-governmental organizations and individuals.
Grant awardees must provide non-federal matching funds for at least 50 percent of the project cost. Of the non-federal matching funds, a minimum of 25 percent must be from cash contributions; the remaining 25 percent may come from in-kind contribution.
Below is the list of fiscal year 2012 Arkansas CIG awardees.
- Development and Demonstration of a Phosphorus Index to Assess the Risk of Phosphorus Loss from Row Crops in Arkansas; University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, $75,000.
The project will develop, calibrate and validate a Phosphorus (P) Index for row crop agriculture in Arkansas, for use as a risk assessment and nutrient management planning (NMP) tool compliant with the 2012 NRCS 590 NMP Conservation Standard.
- Demonstration of Phosphorus (P) Runoff Reduction Measures for Poultry Houses; University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, $25,918.
The project will determine the extent to which nutrients (in particulate and dissolved forms) can be lost from around poultry houses during rainfall-runoff. The project will also demonstrate on-site conservation management strategies and assess the efficiency of filter socks packed with P-sorbing materials to reduce phosphorus runoff from around poultry houses prior to storm water draining from the site. The management strategy will include using natural channels and grassed drainage swales to channelize runoff and decrease particulate transport; and installing filter socks in the drainage swales.
- Innovative Energy Efficiency Project for Model Arkansas Dairy; Triple A Farms, LLC, $4,127.
The primary objective of this project is to develop an implementation plan for the installation of a more energy efficient milk cooling system on Triple A Farms. By better understanding the costs of this project and the performance and energy efficiency of the plate cooler, the information can help inform Arkansas NRCS and dairy farms in the state how to conserve energy during the milk production process.
- Demonstration and validation of irrigation management tools to preserve water availability for row crop agriculture; Arkansas State University at Jonesboro, $75,000.
The project objective is to increase water availability for row crop agriculture through improved irrigation water planning by expanding the use and accuracy of irrigation management tools. The project will work with the accuracy of on-farm field verification of a furrow irrigated design program (FIDP) on commercial sized cotton and soybean fields. The use of irrigation water management programs FIDP and PHAUCET irrigation program developed by NRCS will also be encouraged. The project will use other irrigation tools such as an array soil moisture sensor to identify optimal soil moisture and determine sensor placement if the producer has a limited number of sensors. The study will be showcased at the Annual Judd Hill Cotton Technology Field Day.