WASHINGTON, D.C.–Farmers in your state are getting a federal grant of $1 million through the Farm Bill to educate them on the health of one of Mississippi’s most valuable assets, the soil.
The money is going to three projects specifically. One is for “historically underserved” farmers in Holmes County. The Holmes County Food Hub in Durant was awarded a $640,775 grant to support a project titled “Introducing Innovative Conservation Technologies to Assist Socially Disadvantaged Farmers in West and Central Mississippi.”
That’s a long title, but here’s the breakdown: Plasticulture and subsurface irrigation are being promoted with this project. It includes showing farmers how important those methods are for the long-term health of the soil and for profits.
A $438,750 grant has been approved for the Stoneville-based Delta F.A.R.M. (BF Smith Foundation) for a project titled “Mississippi’s Soil Health Initiative: Fostering Awareness, Belief and Understanding through Local Experience and Evaluation.” In an effort to promote wider use and acceptance of innovative practices, the Delta F.A.R.M. project will demonstrate and field test soil health systems on 12 farms and 2,400 acres. It will compare the use of traditional and innovative demonstrated soil health systems to evaluate soil and water quality.
A separate $232,232 grant to Louisiana State University for soil health and pasture ecosystem improvement would also have an impact on Mississippi. This project seeks to demonstrate the benefits that multiple forage species forage have on grazing pastures.
In all, the Mississippi CIG grants are among 47 awards worth $15.7 million that were awarded nationwide by the USDA.
The NRCS determines CIG awards on a competitive basis to applicants that propose new or improved conservation practices. It is one of several conservation projects involving working agriculture lands that were reformed in the 2014 farm bill to improve cost-effectiveness and transparency. In all, the farm bill consolidated 23 conservation programs into 13 programs, saving $6.0 billion in mandatory spending by streamlining programs and reducing program duplication in taxpayer funding.