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Contact: Katie Commender
Agroforestry Program Director

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) awards Appalachian Sustainable Development $386,538

ABINGDON, Va. – Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD), has been awarded $386,538 to lead a 36 month collaborative project titled, Increasing Landscape-Scale Adoption of Agroforestry Systems in Central Appalachia through Market-Based Incentives. The project will have lasting impact, with long-term economic and conservation benefits to both people and land in Central Appalachia.

By addressing the NRCS national priority of “increasing the pace and scale of conservation adoption,” the project aims to conserve threatened forest ecosystems and regenerate previously mined and mono-cropped land. Project partners will create a transferable economic incentives system that can be used to encourage forest farming and alley cropping adoption among eligible landowners. With direct impacts to historically underserved producers and veteran farmers, this project will serve as a national model for expansion.

NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr explains, “We are funding innovation. These projects are tackling some of our most critical challenges head on and will result in new science-based tools for our toolbox and cutting-edge systems we can use to help farmers and ranchers improve the health of their operations and protect our natural resources for the future.”

The project employs a conservation through commerce approach, creating market-driven incentives with the herbal products industry that make conservation profitable, adoptable and retainable. This requires innovation through multi-sector, collective impact partnerships. ASD’s Agroforestry team will lead a diverse group of non-profit, university and government partners to collectively conduct on-farm conservation, research, farmer outreach and technical assistance. Project partners include: USDA National Agroforestry Center, US Forest Service, Radford University, University of Virginia’s College at Wise, United Plant Savers and Rural Action.

Find the complete list of 2019 projects funded here:

About Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS)
Since 2004, NRCS has invested $297.3 million to fund 733 national CIG projects nationwide. CIG has an impressive record of fostering innovative conservation tools and strategies. The 2019 CIG Awards bring the total NRCS investment to nearly $309.8 million for 752 projects. Authorized by the 2002 Farm Bill, CIG helps develop the tools, technologies and strategies to support next-generation conservation efforts on working lands and develop market-based solutions to resource challenges. For more information, go to:

About Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD)
Nationally known and respected for its commitment to local farmers, Appalachian Sustainable Development is transitioning Appalachia to a more resilient economy and a healthier population by supporting local agriculture, exploring new economic opportunities and connecting people to healthy food.

Since 1995, Appalachian Sustainable Development (ASD) has been working in 15 counties in Central Appalachia. ASD’s reach has since expanded to include partners in eastern WV and KY and southeast Ohio. ASD uses six strategies to accomplish its work: education, increasing local food production, developing markets, increasing distribution of local agriculture products, engaging strategic partners, and researching/consulting and advising. ASD operates programs that create jobs in farming and agriculture and address food insecurity. For more information about ASD go to, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.


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