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.
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. Through creative problem solving and innovation, CIG partners work to address our nation's water quality, air quality, soil health and wildlife habitat challenges, all while improving agricultural operations.
National and State CIG
Public and private grantees develop the tools, technologies, and strategies to support next-generation conservation efforts on working lands and develop market-based solutions to resource challenges. Grantees must match the CIG investment at least one to one.
All national and state announcements are posted through www.grants.gov.
South Dakota opportunities can be located through a key word search “NRCS SD.”
On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials
Newly authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill, On-Farm Trials support more 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.
The Soil Health Demo Trial (SHD) component of On-Farm Trials focuses exclusively on implementation of conservation practices and systems that improve soil health. Eligible entities receiving SHD awards agree to follow consistent soil health assessment protocols to evaluate the impacts of practice and system implementation.
Who Is Eligible
National and State CIG – all non-Federal entities and individuals are eligible to apply. All CIG projects must involve EQIP-eligible producers.
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.
State Competition - The CIG state component emphasizes projects that benefit a limited geographical area. Participating states 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.
On-Farm Trials - Up to $25 million annually is available for On Farm Trials, which support more 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. Read more.
CIG Success Stories
Read about some of our CIG successes here.
CIG Webinar Series
NRCS has established a webinar series to allow NRCS employees, partner conservationists, and other interested stakeholders to hear directly from CIG grantees. A new webinar is scheduled each quarter and generally covers a single topic area and multiple CIG projects. The goal of the webinar series is to showcase CIG results and provide insights directly from program grantees.
The next webinar in the series is scheduled for Thursday October 7th at 1:30 pm ET and highlights innovations in Managed Grazing Systems.
Click “On-Demand Webinars” and search for the title you would like to view.
CIG webinars have covered water quality, environmental markets and conservation finance, air quality and water management.
If you have any issues accessing these webinars, please email NRCSCIG@usda.gov.
Get Updates to Your Inbox
Get regular updates about CIG and other NRCS conservation programs right to your inbox, including new funding announcements. Click here
to sign-up and select the “Conservation Programs” distribution list.
State Program Manager: Colette Kessler, CIG Program Manager, USDA NRCS South Dakota, 200 Fourth Street SW, Huron, SD 57350 Phone: 605-352-1200 | Email: email@example.com
Ready to get started?
Contact your local service center to start your application.
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.
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 tract number.
If you don’t have a farm tract 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 tract 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.
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.