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Conservation Innovation Grants

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CIG at a Glance

  • Authorized by: 2002 Farm Bill
  • First Grants Awarded: 2004
  • Annual Funding average: $20 Million
  • Total Grants Awarded since 2004 (national component): 679
  • Total CIG Funding since 2004: $263 Million

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.  

2016 CIG Project Selections


NRCS is investing $26.6 million to fund 45 cutting-edge projects through its Conservation Innovation Grants for fiscal year 2016. These new, national projects propose to provide tools and enhance programs and services in conservation finance and water quality. Several of these projects will seek out innovative technologies and approaches to help historically underserved customers increase their access to USDA’s programs and services. See a list of awarded projects and short project descriptions.

CIG Components


National Competition

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

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

State Competition

The CIG state component emphasizes projects that benefit a limited geographical area. Participating states will announce their funding availability for CIG competitions through their state NRCS offices. For additional information about State CIG competitions, please contact your State NRCS office or search for the latest postings here.

Applicants Button Image Grantees Button Image Success Stories Image Project Search tool Image

Addtional Resources SubheaderImage

2015 CIG Awards (PDF, 135 KB)
CIG Fact Sheet (PDF, 281 KB)
CIG Congressional Report(PDF, 916 KB)
Top 10 CIG Stories (PDF, 1.3 MB)

Program Contact
Mike Bennett, CIG Program Manager (202) 720-1895
Melleny Cotton, Program Analyst (202) 720-7412