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Conservation Innovation Grants

Conservation Innovation Grants

Conservation Innovation Grants are competitive grants that stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural production. Under CIG, Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funds are used to award competitive grants to non-Federal entities.

CIG enables NRCS to work with other public and private entities to accelerate technology transfer and adoption of promising technologies and approaches to address some of the nation's most pressing natural resource concerns. CIG will benefit agricultural producers by providing more options for environmental enhancement and compliance with Federal, State, and local regulations. NRCS administers the CIG program which requires a 50-50 match between the agency and the applicant.  CIG is offered as both a nationwide and a state program:

  • The CIG National Component offers eligible entities offers eligible entities the opportunity to apply for grants of up to $2 million. NRCS made $26.6 million available in this nationwide competition for 2016 and focused on Water Quality and Conservation Finance. The deadline to submit proposals was May 10, 2016, and awards were announced on September 8, 2016.
  • The CIG State Component offers eligible entities the opportunity to apply for grants up to $75,000. This competition is limited to single and multi-year projects, not to exceed 3 years, for projects with a direct nexus to the state of Vermont.

Vermont applicants can apply to the National program, the State program, or both programs.

2009 - 2016 Vermont State Conservation Innovation Grants

A total of $242,434 in federal funds were made available to four projects under the 2016 Vermont CIG state competition. The Vermont State CIG's included the category of Natural Resources Concerns and Technology Needs for possible funding and seven applications were received. The funded projects include:

  • Applying Gypsum as a Soil Amendment to Reduce Available Phosphorus on Fields with High Soil Test Phosphorus Levels
  • Development of Phosphorus Mass Balances on Vermont Farms
  • Economic Analysis of Cover Crops & Reduced Tillage Systems in Vermont
  • Innovative Tools to Improve Nutrient and Financial Accounting of Conservation Practices on Vermont Farms.

Detailed project descriptions are available here

$166,589 in federal funds was made available for three projects under the 2015 Vermont CIG state competition. The Vermont State CIG had two categories of natural resources concerns and technology needs for possible funding and received three applications. The categories were: Water Quality and Energy. The funded projects are: Pilot Project Using Existing LiDAR to Identify and Map Forest Roads, Trails, and Log Landings on Private Forests in Vermont; Soap Bubble Insulation: A New Approach to Energy Conservation in Northern Greenhouses; and Use of Water Treatment Residuals to Reduce Phosphorus Availability in Agricultural Soils in Vermont

$50,000 in federal funds was made available for one project under the 2014 Vermont CIG state competition. The Vermont State CIG had three categories of natural resources concerns and technology needs for possible funding and received six applications. The categories were: Water Quality & Soil Health, Forestry/Wildlife and Energy. The funded project is: Tile Drainage Phosphorus Removal System in the Rock River Watershed.

$220,316 in federal funds was made available for three projects under the 2013 Vermont CIG state competition. The Vermont State CIG had three categories of natural resources concerns and technology needs for possible funding and received ten applications. The categories were: Water Quality, Forestry/Wildlife and Energy. The funded projects are: Better Cover Crop Mixes in Vermont; Development of a Web-based APEX Tool for Optimizing Best Management Practices and Conservation Planning on Vermont Farms; and Soil Health Demonstration Farm on Clay Soil.

$269,620 in federal funds was made available for five projects under the 2012 Vermont CIG state competition. The Vermont State CIG had three categories of natural resources concerns and technology needs for possible funding and received nine applications. The categories were: Energy, Water Quality, and Wildlife. The funded projects are: Champlain Valley Farmer Coalition for Improved Water Quality; Development of an Agricultural Water Quality Certainty Program in Vermont; Compost Sourced Heat Pump System for Heating a Vermont Greenhouse; Innovative Technologies for Energy Conservation in Vermont Greenhouses; and Using Grass-Based Livestock Farms to Demonstrate Regenerative Agriculture. 

$153,352 in federal funds was made available for four projects under the 2011 Vermont CIG state competition. The Vermont State CIG had six categories of natural resources concerns and technology needs for possible funding and received seven applications. The categories were: Energy, Soil Quality, Priority Landscapes, Nutrient Management, Program Outreach and Conservation Technology Transfer to Targeted Groups, and Sustainable Agriculture. The funded projects are: Digging Deeper: Improving the Implementation of Nutrient Management Practices in Vermont, Fuel from the Field to the Flue: Grass Pellet Heating Equipment Combustion Optimization Project, Innovative Technologies for Energy Conservation in Vermont Greenhouses, and Yestermorrow’s Greenhouse: A Model of Innovation. 

$69,812 in federal funds was made available for one project under the 2010 Vermont CIG state competition. The Vermont State CIG had three categories of natural resources concerns and technology needs for possible funding. The categories were: Promotion of Sustainable Agriculture, Energy, and Priority Landscapes. The funded project is: Increasing Livestock Production for Vermont Markets by Improving and Reclaiming Marginal Pasture. 

$317,596 in federal funds was made available for seven projects under the 2009 Vermont CIG state competition. The Vermont State CIG had four categories of natural resources concerns and technology needs for possible funding: Atmospheric Resources, Farm and Forest Energy Production, Maintaining Working Landscapes Sustainably, and Soil and Water Resources. Funded projects are: White River Watershed Landscape Auction, Anaerobic Digester Effluent Treatment to Reduce Agricultural Atmospheric Emissions, Pellet Fired Boiler for Multiple Greenhouses, Promoting Zone Tillage among Commercial Vegetable Growers in Vermont, Optimizing the Greenhouse Gas Storage Capacity and Productivity of Degraded Forest Lands, Increasing Carbon Sequestration in Vermont Pastures, and Designing a Sustainable Corn Silage Cropping System for Vermont.

2016 Vermont State CIG Application Package Materials

Vermont CIG state funds for projects between one and three years in duration were awarded through a statewide competitive grants process. The Announcement of Program Funding document outlines the entire application process. The grant application package materials identify the objectives for CIG projects, details on topics that were considered for funding, the eligibility criteria for projects and associated instructions needed to apply to CIG. Complete applications received by June 3, 2016 were evaluated by a technical peer review panel and scored based on the criteria identified in the Announcement of Program Funding.

The following documents require Acrobat Reader

FY2016 VT CIG Announcement of Program Funding  (PDF 96 KB)
Standard Form 424   (PDF 229 KB)
Instructions for Standard Form 424  (PDF 33 KB)
Standard Form 424A  (PDF 188 KB)
Supplemental SF424A Instructions  (PDF 17KB)
Example of a completed SF 424A   (PDF 127 KB)
Standard Form 424B  (PDF 82 KB)
DUNS Number Application Information  (PDF 23 KB)

For those new to grant applications: Writing a Winning Proposal  (PDF 1.2 MB)

All OMB standard forms (SF) necessary for CIG submission are also available on the Grants.gov website: Approved Standard SF-424 Forms

Additional financial and progress reporting forms are available for CIG grantees.

National CIG Awards in Vermont

Twenty-one National CIG awards have funded Vermont based projects or multi-state efforts that include Vermont. Here is a list of the projects. See the National CIG website for additional details.

Contact

Bob Kort    
Vermont State CIG Program Manager
Phone: 802-951-6796 x233
Email: bob.kort@vt.usda.gov