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NRCS South Dakota News Release

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					       United States Department of Agriculture ∙ Natural Resources Conservation Service
     Federal Building, 200 Fourth Street SW ∙ Huron, SD 57350-2475 ∙ (605) 352-1200 ∙ (605) 352-1288 (FAX)

                                                                           Jeff McGuire, State Public Affairs Specialist
NEWS                                                                       USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
                                                                           200 Fourth Street, SW., Huron, SD 57350
For Immediate Release                                                      (605) 352-1228
                                                                           jeffery.mcguire@sd.usda.gov




 SOUTH DAKOTA PART OF $18 MILLION IN CONSERVATION INNOVATION GRANTS
                Grants Will Help Producers Conserve and Sustain Natural Resources

     NATURAL RESOURCES CONSERVATION SERVICE, Huron, SD, July 17, 2009 –
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $18.4 million in Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG)
to fund 55 projects to develop and refine cutting-edge technologies and approaches to help farmers and
ranchers conserve and sustain natural resources.

     "New technology can play an important role in addressing environmental problems, and the
Obama Administration is committed to developing innovative solutions to natural resource
management and conservation issues facing farmers and ranchers," Vilsack said. "These Conservation
Innovation Grants will benefit both agriculture and the environment by getting 21st century ideas in
the hands of our producers across the country."

     South Dakota is included in four different grants with a combined total of more than $3.3 million
to help conserve and protect our nation’s natural resources.

    The Thule Group of Consultants was awarded more than $1.1 million to establish a carbon credit
protocol. The goal of this project is to establish market-based incentives using carbon credit dollars to
encourage the use of promising new technologies for aerobic manure treatment.

     South Dakota State University was awarded over $600,000 to research precision cover crops for
improved soil health. The purpose of the project is to demonstrate that cover crops can increase the
sustainability of renewable resources and improve soil health, microbial diversity, and water
availability within continuous no-tillage systems.

     Ecosystem Management Research Institute received $650,000 in a shared grant between South
Dakota and Nebraska for coordinated restoration of native grasslands using innovative practices. The
purpose is to implement a coordinated and collaborative grassland restoration program that addresses
restoration objectives identified in South Dakota and Nebraska Wildlife Action Plans as well as the
Grassland Conservation Plan for Prairie Grouse.

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                                     Helping People Help The Land
                                     An Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer
                                                 -2-

    Agflex, Inc. was awarded $930,703 in a multi-state grant, which includes South Dakota, for Best
Management Practices challenge across the cornbelt and rapid adoption of conservation tillage in
California through improved technical assistance and managing risk.

    "The Conservation Innovation Grant program enables USDA to review, field test, and
demonstrate practices and ideas that have yet to be successfully mainstreamed into our portfolio of
practice options," said Dave White, Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS),
which administers the program and provides technical oversight for each project.

     The Conservation Innovation Grant program is designed to speed the transfer and enhance use of
technologies and methods that show promise in solving the nation's top natural resource problems by
targeting innovative, on-the-ground conservation. Approved projects address issues such as water
quantity and quality, grazing lands, soil and forest health, and air quality.

    Grantees provide matching funds, bringing the total value of the approved projects to more than
$36.8 million. The program targets grants to state and local governments, Indian tribes, non-
governmental organizations and individuals.

    As part of its continuing outreach efforts to minority and underserved communities, USDA will
fund six proposals valued at $1 million to help Native American tribes and limited resource producers
address natural resource issues, energy efficiency, and market-based approaches to conservation.

     Additional information about CIG, including summaries of fiscal year approved projects, is
available at www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/cig. For more information about USDA's conservation
programs, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov or the nearest USDA Service Center in your area.


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