STEPHENVILLE — A team led by Tarleton researcher Dr. Eun Sung Kan has been selected to receive a 2020 National Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) national program award from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The team’s three-year grant, totaling more than $1.4 million including matching funds and federal support, was awarded for the proposal “Biocarbon-Enhanced Dairy Manure Management Demonstration for Enhanced Water Quality.”
The project is expected to demonstrate a biocarbon-assisted phytoremediation system for enhancing water quality during dairy manure application in three Texas counties and improve knowledge of field-applied surface-functionalized biochar and how it can enhance water quality during dairy manure application when used in conjunction with plants.
Knowledge gained through the project will provide solutions to improve the sustainability of animal-based agricultural systems and food security, plus enhance environmental quality for future generations.
Dr. Kan, principal investigator, will conduct the project in collaboration with the co-investigators, Drs. Jim Muir, Paul De Laune, Jennifer Spencer, Jeff Brady, Edward Osei, Barbara Jones, Kartik Venkataraman and Caitlyn Cooper, representing Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Tarleton State University and Texas Tech University.
Team members will utilize their own expertise in environmental engineering, plant/soil science, microbiology, dairy science, hydrology and economics.
USDA NRCS Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) is a competitive funding program that supports development, testing and research of conservation technologies, practices, systems and approaches on private lands. CIG also contributes to the Agriculture Innovation Agenda, a USDA initiative to align resources, programs and research to position American agriculture to better meet future global demands.
Specifically, USDA is working to stimulate innovation so that American agriculture can increase production by 40 percent while cutting the environmental footprint of U.S. agriculture in half by 2050.
USDA has generated more than $15.3 million in partner matching funds, resulting in almost $30 million for conservation innovation. Authorized in the 2002 Farm Bill, the CIG program has awarded nearly $300 million to date.
“The world’s population is increasing, but available agricultural land is decreasing,” said NRCS Acting Chief Kevin Norton. “Through science and innovation, we can help farmers improve the health of their operations and productivity on their lands while protecting the natural resources we all depend on. The new systems, tools and technologies being developed through CIG are helping us ensure the longevity of American agriculture.”
The 2020 funding pool focused on five priority areas: air quality, water quality, water reuse, energy conservation and wildlife habitat. NRCS selected 24 projects for the 2020 CIG awards. For more information about the CIG program, visit the CIG website.