National grants totaling $1.04 million have been awarded to three organizations to help implement conservation projects in multistate areas that include Louisiana, and nearly $150,000 in state grants were awarded.

The national grants were among $15.7 million in Conservation Innovation Grants to 47 organizations made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“Conservation Innovation Grants are used to develop and demonstrate innovative ideas for conservation on America’s private lands,” said Kevin Norton, Louisiana state conservationist. “Louisiana’s projects will address ecosystem diversity, environmental markets and soil health — and provide our farmers and ranchers valuable information that could shape the future of agriculture in Louisiana.”

The national awards included:

  • $232,232 to the LSU Agricultural Center to establish multiple cool-season species of plants on commercial beef cattle pastures in Louisiana and Mississippi to demonstrate the benefits of the plantings to soil health and production.
  • $530,420 to Terra Global Capital LLC to be used in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, California and Missouri to help rice producers tap into emerging greenhouse gas markets. There are insufficient numbers of rice farmers participating because of the high cost of monitoring and verification. The project will try to lower costs by using remote/sensor monitoring methods.
  • $279,720 to the National Grazing Lands Coalition for outreach, education and demonstration activities to improve grazing lands conservation and soil health in Louisiana, Texas, South Carolina, New York and North Dakota.

The state awards are:

  • $75,000 to the LSU AgCenter to implement new sugar cane residue and nitrogen fertilizer management approaches to minimize nutrient and sediment runoff into Louisiana coastal water bodies.
  • $74,786 to the Nature Conservancy to develop software applications that support conservation decisions in agricultural landscapes, in particular nutrient runoff into Louisiana’s waterways.