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White egret in a wetland in Florida

Conservation Innovation Grants - Florida


Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) is a competitive program that supports the development of new tools, approaches, practices, and technologies to further natural resource conservation on private lands. 

Aerial view of Mt. Toby Farm (left of Connecticut River), in Sunderland, MA, has worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources and Conservation Service (NRCS) to create their conservation plan that includes the use of Forage and biomass Planting  (512) and Establish and reseed their cover crop during the cool season, on October 18, 2019. Working with Natural Resource Specialist / Business Tools Coordinator Lisa Gilbert who records the progress with the conservation plan. USDA Photo

Learn More About CIG

Explore the new CIG website to learn about funding opportunities, find grantee resources, access information about past projects, and more.

Conservation Innovation Grants in Florida

CIG are competitive grants that drive public and private sector innovation in resource conservation. CIG projects inspire creative problem-solving that boosts production on farms, ranches, and private forests - ultimately, they improve water quality, soil health and wildlife habitat.

Florida CIG Projects

Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) projects are expected to lead to the transfer of conservation technologies into NRCS standards and practices. Florida NRCS offers CIG state program funding opportunities to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies in conjunction with agricultural production. Florida NRCS CIG has a total of 11 projects as of FY 2023.

In Fiscal Year 2023, Florida NRCS awarded four new CIG projects:

  • Archbold Expeditions, Inc: To develop innovative unmanned aerial vehicle
    technology (commonly known as drone) to better identify and quantify brush and improve data collection and management of Florida’s grazing lands.
  • Blackbeard’s Ranch: To show virtual fence is a helpful tool that works towards long-term, agro-ecosystem goals on grazing and ranchlands.
  • Florida State University: Evaluate the efficiency of rain gardens as a selected conservation practice to mitigate microplastic pollution in urban farms, and provide guidance on proposing effective plans to prevent and lessen this pollution using green infrastructure.
  • IMG Citrus Inc: An implementation and on-farm research and demonstration
    project that integrates rhizome perennial peanut cover crop in citrus groves as a soil best
    management practice.
Cattle on Blackbeard Ranch in Florida - Conservation Innovation Grant project

Cattle graze at Blackbeard Ranch, Florida. - NRCS CIG Project 

Who Is Eligible

State and National CIG: All United States (U.S.) based, non-Federal entities (NFE) and individuals are eligible to apply for projects carried out in the U.S. All CIG projects must involve EQIP-eligible producers.

On-Farm Trials: Private entities whose primary business is related to agriculture, non-governmental organizations with experience working with agricultural producers, and non-Federal government agencies.

How To Apply

National Competition: A CIG funding notice is announced each year. Funds for single- or multi-year projects, not to exceed three years, are awarded through a nationwide competitive grants process. Projects may be watershed-based, regional, multi-state or nationwide in scope. The natural resource concerns eligible for funding through CIG are identified in the funding announcement and may change annually to focus on new and emerging, high priority natural resource concerns.

On-Farm Trials: Up to $25 million annually is available for On Farm Trials, which support widespread adoption of innovative approaches, practices and systems on working lands. On-Farm Trials projects feature collaboration between NRCS and partners to implement on-the-ground conservation activities and then evaluate their impact. Incentive payments are provided to producers to offset the risk of implementing innovative approaches.

State Competition - Information on FY 2024 CIG Funding and application period will be forthcoming.

The state CIG component emphasizes projects that benefit a limited geographical area.

 Florida 2023 State CIG Priorities:

  • Urban Agriculture - Urban farming comes with unique conservation challenges and opportunities. We are accepting proposals that demonstrate innovations that support conservation of natural resources in urban agricultural contexts.
  • Water Conservation - Water conservation is the most important action we can take to sustain our water supplies, meet future needs, and reduce demands on Florida’s water-dependent ecosystems such as springs, rivers, lakes, and wetlands. We are accepting proposals that improve water quality, reduce irrigation usage, and improve soil water holding capacity by implementing innovative ideas and practices. 
  • Soil Health - Demonstrate and quantify impacts of soil health promoting practices and management systems (e.g., no-tillage, cover crops, and crop rotations) on improving soil moisture, water infiltration, and soil water holding capacity coupled with an analysis of resulting production impacts on yield, yield variability, and economics of crop production across a range of soils, cropping systems, and climates.
  • Carbon Sequestration - Carbon dioxide is absorbed by trees, plants, and crops through photosynthesis and stored as carbon in biomass of tree trunks, branches, foliage, roots, and soils. We will be accepting proposals that show improvement in the process of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere with innovative practices focused on carbon sequestration.

CIG for Federal fiscal year (FY) 2023 –  The application period for FY 2023 funding is closed. A webinar was held via Zoom on May 17th, 2023, from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. (EST), to review Florida NRCS conservation resource priorities and how to apply for the FY 2023 state 

State CIG Overview

All CIG applications must be submitted on The electronic submission interface is called Workspace. Workspace is the standard way for organizations or individuals to apply for federal grants in Workspace allows an applicant grant team to access and edit different forms within an application simultaneously. In addition, the forms may be filled out online or as a PDF. Please allow extra time to register in Workspace because there are several preliminary registration steps before an applicant can submit the application.

To register, go to, click on “Applicants”, then click on “Get Registered.” If you have completed a prior application, you may already have completed the registration process. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication (e.g., Braille, large print, or audio tape) should contact the USDA TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).

For technical issues with, contact Applicant Support at 1-800-518-4726 or Awarding agency staff cannot support applicants regarding accounts.

State CIG Program Contact:

Hilary Barnhart 
Assistant State Conservationist for Partnerships & Initiatives
Email:  Mobile: (850) 633-7204


Ready to get started?

Contact your local service center to start your application.

Find Your Local Service Center

USDA Service Centers are locations where you can connect with Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or Rural Development employees for your business needs. Enter your state and county below to find your local service center and agency offices. If this locator does not work in your browser, please visit

How to Get Assistance

Do you farm or ranch and want to make improvements to the land that you own or lease?

Natural Resources Conservation Service offers technical and financial assistance to help farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.

how to get started

To get started with NRCS, we recommend you stop by your local NRCS field office. We’ll discuss your vision for your land.

NRCS provides landowners with free technical assistance, or advice, for their land. Common technical assistance includes: resource assessment, practice design and resource monitoring. Your conservation planner will help you determine if financial assistance is right for you.

We’ll walk you through the application process. To get started on applying for financial assistance, we’ll work with you:

  • To fill out an AD 1026, which ensures a conservation plan is in place before lands with highly erodible soils are farmed. It also ensures that identified wetland areas are protected.
  • To meet other eligibility certifications.

Once complete, we’ll work with you on the application, or CPA 1200.

Applications for most programs are accepted on a continuous basis, but they’re considered for funding in different ranking periods. Be sure to ask your local NRCS district conservationist about the deadline for the ranking period to ensure you turn in your application in time.

As part of the application process, we’ll check to see if you are eligible. To do this, you’ll need to bring:

  • An official tax ID (Social Security number or an employer ID)
  • A property deed or lease agreement to show you have control of the property; and
  • A farm number.

If you don’t have a farm number, you can get one from USDA’s Farm Service Agency. Typically, the local FSA office is located in the same building as the local NRCS office. You only need a farm number if you’re interested in financial assistance.

NRCS will take a look at the applications and rank them according to local resource concerns, the amount of conservation benefits the work will provide and the needs of applicants. View Application Ranking Dates by State.

If you’re selected, you can choose whether to sign the contract for the work to be done.

Once you sign the contract, you’ll be provided standards and specifications for completing the practice or practices, and then you will have a specified amount of time to implement. Once the work is implemented and inspected, you’ll be paid the rate of compensation for the work if it meets NRCS standards and specifications.