Federal grants available for farm conservation projects

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EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Federal officials say funding is available to support original approaches and technologies to improve conservation on farmland and private forests in Michigan.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says it will award $250,000 across the state this year for conservation innovation grants.

It will consider proposals seeking as much as $75,000 each, for projects lasting up to three years.

Individuals, businesses, local governments, nonprofit organizations, colleges and universities and American Indian tribes are eligible to apply, with proposals due by April 13.

The grants are meant to encourage science-based conservation methods that benefit both producers and the environment.

Priorities this year in Michigan include grazing lands, organic agriculture systems, soil health, and water quality and quantity.