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SISC Awarded Funding from Conservation Innovation Grant Program of USDA

Staff, Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops

WASHINGTON, August 22, 2011 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the winning proposals for the 2011 Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG). Through CIG, the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is investing nearly $22.5 million in innovative conservation technologies and approaches that address a broad array of existing and emerging natural resource issues.

"We're announcing more than 52 grants today—these are 52 opportunities to help some of America's top agricultural and conservation institutions, foundations and businesses develop unique approaches to enhancing and protecting natural resources on agricultural lands," said Vilsack. "The grants will help to spur creativity and problem solving to benefit conservation-minded farmers and ranchers. Everyone who relies upon the sustainability of our nation's natural resources for clean water, food and fiber, or their way of life, will benefit from these grants."

“Conservation Innovation Grants allow our partners to demonstrate innovative approaches to address some of the nation’s most compelling natural resource concerns such as soil erosion, water and air quality, and energy.”

Projects will be carried out in 40 states. Eight of the approved grants support development of conservation innovations in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, and another eight focus on the Mississippi River Basin. Grant winners pay 50 percent of project costs.


Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops- $761,820 for grant period from October 2011- September 2013

The Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops (SISC) is a multi-stakeholder initiative to develop a system for measuring sustainable performance throughout the specialty crop supply chain. Renewal funding is requested to continue an unprecedented collaboration amongst the nation’s most influential grower organizations, NGOs and buyers of specialty crop products. The project is making progress toward providing a suite of outcomes-based metrics to enable operators at any point along the supply chain to benchmark, compare, and communicate their own performance in meeting sustainability goals.

Project objectives: Expand and complete metrics pilot testing. Develop, refine and manage metric portfolio. Governance, outreach and tool development.

For a summary of all proposals selected for a 2011 Conservation Innovation Grant click here or copy and paste this link into your browser:|%20NRCS