USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service is accepting applications from higher education institutions to conduct soil science research and improve regional surveys.

In a release, USDA said the funding is part of an “ongoing effort to continue to provide critical data to the country.”

“For more than 120 years, scientists have been conducting soil surveys, investigations and research,” NRCS Chief Terry Cosby said in a statement. “We are mandated to keep soil information relevant and available in useful forms to assist our customers — from community planners, to engineers, to farmers and ranchers — so they can make the most informed land use decisions. Collaboration is key as we continue to move the needle on advancing soil surveys.”

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NRCS plans to award funding to organizations in each National Cooperative Soil Survey region — North Central, Northeast, Southern and Western. A USDA release says proposals should aim to fill gaps in soil survey knowledge and “must include significant collaboration with soil survey personnel, such as the NRCS National Soil Survey Center (NSSC) research staff or Major Land Resource Area (MLRA) soil survey or regional offices.”

Proposals are due July 22.

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