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News Release

USDA Accepts Grant Applications for Conservation Innovation Efforts

Conservation Innovation Grant

Grant Program Links Public, Private Groups to Improve the Environment and Preserve Resources

Contact: Katherine Burse-Johnson
Public Affairs Specialist
Office Number: 720-544-2863
Fax Number: 720-544-2965

Denver – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting applications for competitive grants to develop and accelerate conservation approaches and technologies on private agricultural and forest lands.

"Conservation Innovation Grants (CIGs) have contributed to some of the most pioneering conservation work on Colorado's agricultural and forest lands,"said NRCS State Conservationist Phyllis Ann Philipps. "It's an excellent investment in new conservation technologies and approaches that farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners can use to achieve their production and conservation goals."

About $15 million will be made available nationwide by the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). State and local governments, federally recognized Indian tribes, non-governmental and educational organizations, private businesses, and individuals are eligible to apply.

Philipps said priority will be given to applications that relate to nutrient management, energy conservation, soil health, air quality, climate change, wildlife, economics, sociology, environmental markets, food safety, historically underserved groups, or assessments of past CIG projects.

In the 10 years that NRCS has administered the program, grants have helped develop water quality trading markets, demonstrated ways to increase fertilizer water and energy efficiencies, as well as address other resource concerns.

For example, Colorado State University used CIG funding to integrate site-specific management zone and active remote sensing approaches to increase nitrogen use efficiency. The benefits gained were enhanced nutrient use efficiency, improved water quality, and improved sustainability, productivity and profitability of irrigated crop production systems in the region. Bat Conservation International, Inc. used the grant to bring bat conservation technologies, skills, and knowledge to partners and producers, while simultaneously improving outcomes for pollinating and pest-consuming bat species in Colorado with specific benefits to agricultural production.

The grant program enables NRCS to work with public and private partners to accelerate technology development and adopt promising approaches to address natural resource concerns.

Funded through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, the grants are awarded through a competitive process. At least 50 percent of the total cost of grant projects must come from non-federal matching funds, including cash and in-kind contributions provided by the grant recipient.

For more on this grant opportunity, visit To apply electronically, visit

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