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News Release

Arkansas NRCS Announces Funding for Innovation Grants

Little Rock, Arkansas – Mike Sullivan, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) state conservationist, announced approximately $250,000 in funding is available through the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies within Arkansas.

State, tribal, and local governmental entities; non-governmental organizations; and individuals may apply.  Project proposals, due by April 30, 2104, should demonstrate the use of innovative technologies or approaches to address a natural resource concern.  Project results are expected to improve and create the transfer of conservation technologies, management systems, and innovative approaches (such as market-based systems) into NRCS technical manuals or guides or to the private sector.

CIG is used to apply or demonstrate previously proven technology.  It does not fund research projects.  CIG is an effort to address some of the state's most pressing natural resource conservation needs.  CIG is a component of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

For FY 2014, Arkansas NRCS will consider offering CIG in the following areas: Nutrient Management to Improve Water Quality, Integrated Pest Management, High Tunnels, Organic, Invasive Species, Irrigation, Livestock Watering, and Soil Health.  Applications should be for single or multi-year projects, not to exceed 3 years.

Selected applicants may receive grants up to 50 percent of the total project cost. Individual grant awards may not exceed $75,000 in FY 2014.  Applicants must provide non-federal matching funds for at least 50 percent of the project cost.  Of the non-federal matching funds, a minimum of 25 percent must be from cash contributions; the remaining 25 percent may come from in-kind contribution.  Projects may be single or multi-year, not to exceed three years.

Funds will be awarded through a full proposal statewide competitive grants process.  Applications must be entered into either grants.gov or received in hard copy at the Arkansas NRCS State Office by 5 p.m., Central Daylight Time (CDT) on April 30, 2014. 

NRCS anticipates announcing CIG selections on or around June 13, 2014, and awarding all   grants on or around Aug. 1, 2014. However, NRCS will not distribute any funds, and grantees cannot begin work until the parties execute an appropriate CIG agreement. 

Arkansas NRCS will not announce publically the approved 2014 CIG recipients until after the National 2014 CIG recipients have been announced.

For more information on CIG contact Lori Barker, state CIG program manager, at (870) 523-8986 or lori.barker@ar.usda.gov.  The request for proposals and related forms are located at www.grants.gov.