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News Release

USDA, NRCS in N.H. Announces Notice of Funding Opportunity for Fiscal Year 2022 Conservation Innovation Grants in the State

Don Keirstead, State Resource Conservationists/State Soil Scientist

A banner stock photo for the state CIG release. A man stands in the field with a cell phone with technology elements superimposed around him.

DOVER, N.H. (April 1, 2022) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in New Hampshire today has announced the release of the Notice of Funding Opportunity for the state-level Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022.

The NRCS is accepting applications for total funding of up to $200,000 for this state-level CIG from eligible individuals and entities proposing projects entirely within the state. Applicants can find details in the Notice of Funding Opportunity (NFO) on the website. All applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time June 1, 2022, to be eligible.

The minimum amount for an award will be $75,000 and the maximum award is $200,000.  Applicants must share 50% of the total project cost and can be in the form of cash, services, materials, equipment, or in-kind contributions.

For FY 2022, at least 10% of the total funds available are set aside for historically underserved producers. Qualifying entities representing historically underserved producers may qualify for a reduced match.

“Conservation Innovation Grants give our partners the opportunity to develop and implement new science, technology, and innovative tools to address natural resource concerns on New Hampshire’s private working lands” said Becky Ross, State Conservationists for NRCS, in New Hampshire. “These new approaches and technologies will help farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners implement innovative conservation on their lands.”

The CIG is a voluntary program intended to 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.

CIG Priorities for FY2022 include:

  • Urban/Small Farms innovation: Work to develop new conservation strategies and improve outcomes for urban and small farms, including but not limited to soil health, high tunnels, energy, irrigation, and Integrated Pest Management (IPM); where possible include Historically Underserved Communities and Beginner Farmers
  • Carbon Markets innovation: Work to make carbon markets more accessible to family forest landowners; work to build tools and scale products for ease of use; demonstrate practices to improve forest resources and sequester carbon
  • Energy: develop a list of energy efficient farm infrastructure which supports the N.H. NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) cost list; provide insight on older less energy efficient equipment which if replaced with the approved energy efficient equivalent will streamline conservation delivery and reduce the need for case-by-case review
  • Weather Resiliency: work to demonstrate best management practices to diversify operations to better respond to variable climate conditions including water management, cropping strategies and soil protection on farming operations; on forestland, demonstrate multi-aged stands, using slash to reduce erosion and/or other best management practices outlined in the publication, Emergency Erosion Control Techniques for Dealing with Severe Weather Conditions During an Active Timber Harvest.

The CIG program was authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill and offers matching, competitive grants under EQIP that help stimulate public and private sector innovation in resource conservation and 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.

All standard forms necessary for CIG application submission are included in the application package. Details and the full NFO can be found here: USDA-NRCS-NH-CIG-NOFO0001146.

To learn more about Conservation Innovations Grants, visit the state CIG webpage.

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