The purpose of On-Farm Trials is to stimulate the adoption and evaluation of innovative conservation approaches in partnership with agricultural producers. For 2019, NRCS is implementing On-Farm Trials through eligible entities, which in turn work collaboratively with NRCS and agricultural producers to implement innovative approaches on private lands. On-Farm Trials supports the implementation of innovative approaches that have a positive conservation impact but which, for any number of reasons, have not yet been adopted by producers.
On-Farm Trials funding is designed to provide technical and financial assistance to producers to help compensate for any risks associated with implementation of new conservation practices, systems and approaches. Evaluation is a key component of On-Farm Trials to ensure that environmental, financial and social (to the extent possible) impacts of implementing innovative approaches are captured and disseminated.
NRCS intends to use the results of On-Farm Trials project evaluations and analyses to explore development of new or modification of existing NRCS business practices, guidance documents, technical tools, and conservation practice standards.
NRCS gives priority to projects that implement innovative conservation approaches that are applicable to a range of ag operation sizes and types.
The Soil Health Demo Trial (SHD) component of On-Farm Trials focuses exclusively on implementation of conservation practices and systems that improve soil health. Eligible entities receiving SHD awards agree to follow consistent soil health assessment protocols to evaluate the impacts of practice and system implementation.