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News Release

USDA opens signup for new On-Farm Trials effort

NEWS_RELEASE_HEADER-UPDATEDRelease No.: 2019.05.029

Contact:
FPAC.BC.Press@usda.gov

PORTLAND, Ore. – (May 15, 2019) — USDA is investing up to $25 million per year over the next five years to help support the adoption and evaluation of innovative conservation approaches on agricultural lands.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting proposals through July 15, 2019, for On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials (On-Farm Trials), a new component of the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program created in the 2018 Farm Bill. On-Farm Trials include a Soil Health Demo Trial.

The On-Farm Trials funding announcement, including the 2019 funding priorities, is available here.

NRCS is now accepting proposals from the following eligible entities:

  • Private entities whose primary business is related to agriculture.
  • Non-governmental organizations with experience working with agricultural producers.
  • Non-Federal government agencies.

A webinar for potential On-Farm Trials applicants is scheduled for May 29, 2019, at 3 p.m. EST. To learn more about the webinar and program, visit the CIG On-Farm Trials webpage.

On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials

Through On-Farm Trials, NRCS and partners will collaborate to encourage the adoption of innovative practices and systems on agricultural lands. On-Farm Trials funding goes directly to partners, which in turn provide technical assistance and incentive payments to producers to implement innovative approaches on their lands.

Producers receiving On-Farm Trials payments must be eligible to participate in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). The maximum On-Farm Trials award for 2019 is $5 million. The minimum award is $250,000.

A critical element of each On-Farm Trials project is project evaluation. Partners must propose robust scientific approaches to their on-farm trials, resulting in data and analysis of the environmental, financial and (to the extent possible) social impacts of the trials.

For the Soil Health Demo Trial, partners must agree to use consistent soil health assessment protocols developed by NRCS.

On-Farm Trials is distinct from the traditional CIG competitive grants funding, which is used to support early pilot projects or demonstrations of promising conservation approaches and technologies. Traditional CIG funding is not typically provided directly to producers. On-Farm Trials funding is designed to flow through partners directly to producers to implement innovative approaches that have been well-studied and known to provide conservation benefits.

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