The U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (“NRCS”) issued a June 8th news release announcing more than $22 million in Conservation Innovation Grants (“CIG”).

The White River Irrigation District (“White River”) was one of the 33 projects that received an award.

NRCS stated that the CIG program helps:

. . . develop the tools, technologies, and strategies to support next-generation conservation efforts on working lands and develop market-based solutions to resource challenges.

The public and private grantees are required to “leverage the federal investment by at least matching it.”

NRCS states that the projects announced for 2017 focus on conservation finance and pay-for-success models to stimulate:

  • Conservation adoption
  • Data analytics for natural resources
  • Water management technologies and approaches
  • Historically underserved farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners

The White River project is described by NRCS as proposing to:

. . . develop, test and validate an Internet of Agriculture (loAg) network and Service Platform that will provide precision agricultural data to enable farmers to increase crop yield, minimize cost, reduce water usage, and improve conservation of natural resources. The primary work will be carried out in the Grand Prairie Region of Arkansas to leverage a large US Army Corps of Engineers water distribution and water management project that has resulted in extensive investment in automated on-farm data acquisition, data transfer, and control systems. Similar technologies have been tested and implemented in home automation and monitoring, health care, commercial building and energy conservation. This project adopts the methodology and applies it to the agricultural and environment sector.