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Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG)

Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG)

Last Modified: 04/4/2018

Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) are competitive grants that drive public and private sector innovation in resource conservation. Authorized by the 2002 Farm Bill, CIG uses Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funds to award competitive grants to non-Federal governmental or nongovernmental organizations, American Indian Tribes, or individuals. 

The purpose of CIG is to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies in conjunction with agricultural production. CIG projects are expected to lead to the transfer of conservation technologies, management systems, and innovative approaches (such as market-based systems) to agricultural producers, into NRCS technical manuals and guides, or to the private sector.  CIG funds the development and field testing, on-farm research and demonstration, evaluation, or implementation of:

·        Approaches to incentivizing conservation adoption, including market-based and conservation finance approaches; and

·        Conservation technologies, practices, and systems.

Technologies and approaches that are eligible for funding in a project’s geographic area using an EQIP contract for an established conservation practice standard are ineligible for CIG funding, except where the use of those technologies and approaches demonstrates clear innovation.

Conservation Innovation Grant Opportunities within Oklahoma - **NEW**

The State level CIG program provides opportunities for producers and organizations that might not compete effectively at the National level. NRCS will use these competitive grants to seek creative solutions to assist producers with emerging and traditional agricultural and natural resource issues.

The State level CIG program provides competitive grants to federally-recognized Indian tribes, state and local units of governments, non-governmental organizations and individuals. CIG funds one-to-three-year projects that target innovative on-the-ground conservation, including pilot projects and field demonstrations. The maximum federal contribution for each project is $75,000 at the state level. The $300,000 in State level CIG funding will be used to address the following categories:

1.    Grazing Lands

Improving Ecosystem Function and Resilience through Prescribed Burning Programs

2.    Organic Agriculture Systems

3.    Soil Health

Soil Health Management Systems

Soil Health Assessments

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Oklahoma CIG FY-2018 Announcement for Program Funding


Additional Information and Links

The national NRCS CIG website has additional program information, fact sheets, forms, and links for the CIG application process. This site also provides information on all previously funded projects by the year in which they received funding.

Key Provisions

Each fiscal year, funds for single- or multi-year projects, not to exceed three years, will be awarded through a nationwide competitive grants process from all eligible non-federal government or nongovernment organizations or individuals, including federally recognized tribes. CIG competitions will emphasize projects that have a goal of providing benefits over a large geographic area. Applications should describe the use of innovative technologies or approaches, or both, to address a natural resource conservation concern or concerns. The natural resource priorities eligible for funding through CIG will be identified in the funding announcement, and may change annually. Applications are evaluated by a technical peer review panel and scored against criteria identified in the funding notice. Final selections will be made by the State Conservationist. Awards will be made through a grant agreement. At least 50 percent of the total cost of the project must come from non-Federal matching funds (cash and in-kind contributions) provided by the grantee. The grantee also is responsible for providing the technical assistance required to successfully complete the project. NRCS will provide technical oversight for each project receiving an award.

CIG is not a research program. Instead, it is a vehicle to stimulate the adoption of conservation approaches or technologies that have been studied sufficiently to indicate a likelihood of success, and are likely candidates for eventual technology transfer. CIG will fund projects targeting innovative on-the ground conservation, including pilot projects and field demonstrations. Technologies and approaches that are commonly used in the geographic area covered by the application, and which are eligible for funding through EQIP, are not eligible for funding through CIG. Proposed projects must conform to the description of innovative conservation projects or activities published in the funding notice.


All NFE entities and individuals, with the exception of Federal agencies, are eligible to apply for projects carried out in Oklahoma. Individuals and entities may submit more than one application. Individuals and entities may receive more than one award.

All CIG projects must involve EQIP-eligible producers that meet the eligibility requirements for EQIP listed in 7 CFR § 1466.6(b)(1) through (3):

·        Be in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions (7 CFR Part 12).

·        Be a person, legal entity, joint operation, Indian tribe, or native corporation who is engaged in agricultural production or forestry management or has an interest in the agricultural or forestry operation as defined in 7 CFR Part 1400.  

·        Have control of the land involved for the term of the proposed contract period.



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