From Agri-Pulse: Some 76 small businesses in 35 states will split $7.4 million in USDA funding for research projects related to agricultural issues, food security and natural resources.USDA said the grants are being made through the department's Small Business Innovation Research program and administered by the National Institute for Food and Agriculture. In a release, USDA said the funding is designed to “encourage domestic small businesses to engage in high-growth research and development that has the potential for commercialization and could lead to significant public benefit,”.

Last week the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced updates to the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) including more than 200 enhancements, nearly double the previous number. These are the specific conservation management activities that farmers and ranchers agree to implement that take them to the next level-beyond minimum conservation standards.Based on acreage, CSP is now USDA's largest conservation program. Designed for conservation-minded producers with a good track record, the program offers five-year contracts featuring annual payments.