Lynn Eberhard of Seneca County has been a long time no-tiller on his Seneca County farm.

USDA to Invest $15 million in Conservation Innovation

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is investing up to $15 million to support the development of new tools, approaches, practices and technologies to further natural resource conservation on private lands through the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program.

 CIG partners use creative problem solving and innovation to address our nation’s water quality, air quality, soil health and wildlife habitat challenges, all while improving agricultural operations. This year, funded CIGs will focus on climate-smart strategies for water resources, soil health (focused on carbon sequestration and climate resilience), nutrient management, grazing lands conservation and strategies to increase conservation adoption.  

 “Through Conservation Innovation Grants, we’re able to co-invest with partners on the next generation of agricultural conservation solutions,” said NRCS Chief Terry Cosby. “Using creative problem solving and innovation, CIG partners work to address our nation’s most pressing natural resource concerns, all while helping to ensure the health and longevity of American agriculture.”

All U.S.-based non-Federal entities and individuals are eligible to apply. Proposals must be submitted through Grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. ET on July 19, 2021. 

Complete funding announcement information can be accessed through the Conservation Innovation Grants webpage.  

The CIG program has three components, CIG Classic, CIG On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials and state-level CIG. Today’s funding opportunity announcement is for CIG Classic, which supports early pilot projects or demonstrations of promising new conservation approaches, tools and technologies.  

CIG Classic grantees must match each federal dollar invested at least one to one.

NRCS intends to expend at least 10% of the total funding for CIG Classic on projects that are focused on providing conservation benefits to historically undeserved producers.

In April, USDA announced $25 million for CIG On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials, which features collaboration between NRCS and partners to implement on-the-ground conservation activities and then evaluate their impact. Incentive payments are provided to producers to offset the risk of implementing new approaches. The On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials funding opportunity deadline is June 21, 2021. 

For more information on CIG, please visit the CIG website.

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  1. This will allow the agency to further refine programs and practices to give producers the tools to increase resilience to climate change.

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