WASHINGTON — USDA announces it is investing up to $12.5 million to help support the adoption of innovative conservation approaches on agricultural lands. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting proposals through July 30, 2019, for national Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG). CIG projects inspire creative problem-solving that boosts production on farms, ranches, and private forests - ultimately, they improve water quality, soil health, and wildlife habitat. All U.S.-based non-Federal entities and individuals are eligible to apply.
“Conservation Innovation Grants enable partners to co-invest with NRCS on the next generation of agricultural conservation solutions,” NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr said. “Conservation Innovation Grants have helped spur new tools and technologies to conserve natural resources, build resilience in their operations, and improve their bottom lines, and we’re excited to see what these proposals will offer.”
CIG support the development and field testing, on-farm research and demonstration, evaluation, or implementation of conservation technologies, practices, and systems and approaches to incentivizing conservation adoption. Grantees must match the CIG investment at least one to one.
The 2019 CIG priorities are:
- Increasing the pace and scale of conservation adoption
- Water quantity
- Pollinator habitat
- Urban agriculture
The complete funding announcement information can be accessed through the Conservation Innovation Grants webpage. The National CIG program supports early pilot projects or demonstrations of promising conservation approaches.
National CIG program is distinct from the $25 million announced on May 15 for On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials. On-Farm Trials is a new CIG component created by the 2018 Farm Bill. On-Farm Trials include a Soil Health Demo Trial.
State NRCS CIG
State NRCS Offices are also able to fund and hold their own CIG competitions (awards maximum of $75,000) in addition to the national CIG signup. Please visit State NRCS Office websites for information about state CIG competitions.
On December 20, 2018, President Trump signed into law the 2018 Farm Bill, which provides support, certainty and stability to our nation’s farmers, ranchers and land stewards by enhancing farm support programs, improving crop insurance, maintaining disaster programs and promoting and supporting voluntary conservation. NRCS is committed to implementing these changes as quickly and effectively as possible, and today’s updates are part of meeting that goal.