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Conservation Innovation Grants

Conservation Innovation Grants

Conservation Innovation Grants (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.

Program At A Glance

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.

On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials – Newly authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill, On-Farm Trials supports 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 component of On-Farm Trials focuses exclusively on implementation of conservation practices and systems that improve soil health. Eligible entities receiving Soil Health Demo awards agree to follow consistent soil health assessment protocols to evaluate the impacts of practice and system implementation. Learn more about On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials.

Who Is Eligible

  • State and National CIG: All non-federal entities and individuals are eligible to apply. 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.
  • State Competition:  The state CIG component emphasizes projects that benefit a limited geographical area. Florida 2021 state CIG priority category is high tunnel systems (Conservation Practice Standard 325). The goal under this category is to increase innovation, improve weather resiliency and address the Florida priority resource concern of degraded plant conditions. Florida is currently accepting applications via Grants.gov until July 12, 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. For more information on the funding announcement view the posting here.
  • 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. Read more here.

The grants.gov electronic submission interface is called Workspace. Workspace is the standard way for organizations or individuals to apply for federal grants in grants.gov. 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 grants.gov, click on “Applicants”, then click on “Get Registered.” If you have completed a prior grants.gov 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).

More Information

CIG Webinars

A NRCS national webinar series allow NRCS employees, partner conservationists, and other stakeholders to hear directly from CIG grantees. A new webinar is scheduled each quarter and covers a single topic area and multiple CIG projects. View upcoming webinars on the national CIG website. Access past webinars here. CIG webinar topics have included water quality, environmental markets and conservation finance, air quality and water management. If you have problems accessing the webinars, email NRCSCIG@usda.gov.

Program Contact

Nina Bhattacharyya, Partnerships and Initiatives, 352-338-9554.