Skip Navigation

News Release

NRCS Grants Available to Help Producers Adapt to Drought

Wade Biddix
(804) 287-1675


Richmond, August 16, 2012 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is now taking applications for Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) to help producers better adapt to drought conditions.  Interested individuals, Tribes, local and state governments, and non-governmental organizations must submit proposals by October 15, 2012 to be considered for up to $5 million in CIG funding.

NRCS is offering these grants to partnering entities to evaluate innovative, field-based conservation technologies and approaches. These technologies/approaches should lead to improvements such as enhancing the water-holding capacity in soils and installing drought-tolerant grazing systems to help farms and ranches become more resilient to drought.

Though we were not included in the 21 states selected for federal drought assistance, this historic national drought has also impacted the livelihood of producers in the Commonwealth,” said State Conservationist Jack Bricker. “The cutting-edge approaches and technologies tested through these Conservation Innovation Grants will help Virginia farmers and ranchers better prepare for droughts and run more sustainable and profitable operations.”

 NRCS is especially interested in projects that demonstrate: 

  • Cropping or grazing systems that increase drought resistance through improved soil health;
  • Increases in available soil water holding capacity by enhancing organic matter with reduced tillage, cover crops and organic amendments;
  • Improvements in water use efficiency for agricultural production;
  • Coordination with NRCS Plant Material Centers in using drought resistant plants and practices;
  • Recommendations for appropriate nutrient management following an extended drought;
  • Agricultural approaches that flourished in low-precipitation areas;
  • Traditional/historical production practices that have proven effective in dealing with drought;
  • Alternative feeding systems for confined animal operations using drought-tolerant feedstocks;
  • Alternative housing or cooling systems for improved energy efficiency and better climate control in confined animal operations; and
  • Technologies that reduce water use in confined animal operations.

Funds will be awarded through a competitive grants process for projects lasting for one to three years. Apply electronically at or contact Gregorio Cruz, National CIG Program Manager, at (703) 235-8065. View the complete Announcement of Program Funding at or