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Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG)

Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) are competitive grants that stimulate the development and adoption of innovative approaches and technologies for conservation on agricultural lands. CIG uses Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funds to award competitive grants to non-Federal governmental or nongovernmental organizations, American Indian Tribes, or individuals. Producers involved in CIG funded projects must be EQIP eligible.

Through CIG, NRCS partners with public and private entities to accelerate technology transfer and adopt promising technologies. These new technologies and approaches address some of the Nation's most pressing natural resources concerns. CIG benefits agricultural producers by providing more options for environmental enhancement and compliance with Federal, State, and local regulations.

National Competition

NRCS is piloting a concentrated approach for awarding CIGs to address the nation’s top natural resource priorities. This new approach allows NRCS to aggressively impact the natural resource areas of critical concern. The CIG focus for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 is Water Quality and Conservation Finance.

In keeping with NRCS’s mission of “Helping People Help the Land,” 10 percent of CIG funding will be set aside for projects benefiting historically underserved producers, farmers or ranchers who are military veterans, or organizations comprised of or representing these individuals.

The national application period is now closed.  During open application periods, applications for CIG projects must be submitted through offsite link image     with a PDF to

Statewide CIG

In addition to the nationwide grants competition, the State component of CIG is available in select States each year. The State component emphasizes projects that have a goal of providing benefits within a limited geographic area. Projects may be farm-based, multi-county, small watershed, or Statewide in scope.  For additional information about State CIG competitions, please contact John Armentano or search for the latest postings here. offsite link image    

The state application period is now closed.  During open application periods, applications for CIG projects must be submitted through and with a PDF via email to John Armentano.

Active Ohio Conservation Innovation Grants

National CIG - Water Quality Credit Trading - National

Conservation Marketplace Midwest ($243,933)—proposes to develop and pilot a Field Stewards program, an innovative conservation credit system designed to allow companies in the food industry to buy “offsets” for water quality and agricultural conservation. Through the purchase of certification credits, food companies can demonstrate sustainability to their customers without having to create a new chain-of-custody supply chain for agricultural commodities, keeping costs low for retailers and the consumer.

Electric Power Research Institute ($300,000)—proposes to develop and execute, for the first time, trades of “stacked” ecosystem services for water quality and greenhouse gas emissions reduction credits. EPRI administers the Ohio River Basin nutrient trading program – the only multi-state trading program in the country.

Great Lakes Commission ($400,000)— substantial water quality issues plague the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB), leading to harmful algal blooms each summer in Lake Erie. The Great Lakes Commission proposes to develop a framework for water quality trading in the WLEB.

State CIG

Clermont Soil and Water Conservation District ($55,000) - proposes to implement innovative cover crops and an effective, adoptable treatment train detention system on a scale which will enable observation of reduced nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment loads from a sub-watershed of the East Fork of the Little Miami Watershed.

Program Contact:

John Armentano, CIG Program Manager
Phone: (614) 255-2469