USDA invests $1.2 million in climate agriculture project with Ohio State

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U.S. Department of Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack
U.S. Department of Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack speaks during a visit to The Ohio State University Waterman Agricultural and Natural Resources Laboratory. (Photo by Kenneth D. Chamberlain)

COLUMBUS — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a $1.2 million investment by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in a project with Ohio State University to advance climate-smart agriculture as it relates to efficiently irrigating and applying nutrients to crops. 

This project is one of 19 new Conservation Innovation Grants nationwide and one of two in Ohio announced Dec. 10 by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Vilsack announced the investment while at Ohio State University with U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown. 

The $1.2 million project Ohio State University is being awarded focuses on a robotic irrigation system that aligns nutrient application timing to a crop’s nutrient needs and improves irrigation efficiency, having high probability of impacting water quality and reducing evaporation. The project will be implemented in Ohio and Iowa. 

The other project funded, a $500,000 investment with Maumee Watershed Alliance, will demonstrate the impact of phosphorus recovery technologies while exploring the market value of resultant co-products. 

The Maumee Watershed Alliance project will demonstrate phosphorus recovery technologies at three different sites with the aim of illustrating 80% total phosphorus removal over extended demonstration periods. 

It will also explore the market value of two resultant co-products — dewatered manure solids and Amorphous Calcium Phosphate (ACP) — to serve as a cost recovery mechanism and facilitate large-scale adoption. The project will be implemented in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. 

For full project descriptions for the Conservation Innovation Grants, visit the NRCS website.

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