NRCS provides funding opportunities for agriculturalists and others through various programs. Conservation Innovation Grants (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. Under CIG, Environmental Quality Incentives Program funds are used to award competitive grants to non-Federal governmental or nongovernmental organizations, Tribes, or individuals.
CIG 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. CIG will benefit agricultural producers by providing more options for environmental enhancement and compliance with Federal, State, and local regulations. NRCS administers CIG.
On Dec. 18, 2017, NRCS announced that up to $10 million is available for the national component of CIG in 2018. The deadline for applications is Feb. 26, 2018 at 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The full application package, including all necessary forms and instructions and submission information, is on Grants.gov .
Applicants may also visit the CIG applicants page for additional help in preparing applications.
Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship (DGA) proposes to stimulate the adoption of innovative managed grazing systems by historically underserved beginning farmers in the Great Lakes region. DGA is an innovative two- year accredited National Apprenticeship—the first of its kind in the nation—in managed-grazing dairy production. DGA provides a comprehensive structure of support, including on-farm employment, mentorship, financial advising, peer-to-peer discussion groups with local agricultural professionals, and case studies that illustrate models of equity building, milk-share partnerships, investment, and farm transfer. This project is in Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
The Climate Trust proposes to develop and launch the Environmental Price Assurance Facility to help mitigate risks associated with the future value of environmental credits. The Facility, by serving as a buyer-of-last-resort for credits, will increase certainty for investors and projects developers, helping spur implementation of agriculture and forestry conservation projects. Landowners will see increased income from additional investment by private capital in voluntary conservation projects. This project is nationwide.
2015 Selected Projects in Indiana
Environmental Defense Fund proposes to build on its strong relationships to create a large scale pilot generating the first aggregated nutrient management greenhouse gas credit project. This project will demonstrate how growers implementing enhanced nitrogen management practices on both annual and perennial crops can participate in carbon markets, setting the stage for significant reductions in nitrogen fertilizer pollution. This is a four state project between Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and California.
Electric Power Research Institute proposes to develop and execute, for the first time, trades of “stacked” ecosystem services—both water quality and greenhouse gas emissions reduction credits. This is a tri-state project between Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.
The Great Lakes Commission proposes to develop a framework for water quality trading in the Western Lake Erie basin (WLEB) to combat substantial water quality issues leading to harmful algal blooms each summer in Lake Erie. This is a tri-state project between Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.
2013 Selected Projects in Indiana
The Conservation Technology Information Center will examine and expand on the benefits cover crops can provide farmers. As part of the project 1,000 acres of cover crops will be planted.
The Women, Food, and Agriculture Network will reach out to women landowners in seven states who own or manage farmland with messages about improving soil health. The goal of the project is for these women to learn the basics of what constitutes healthy soil, simple soil testing methods, and best management practices to support healthy soil that they can discuss and adopt these strategies with their tenants.
The Environmental Defense Fund is continuing a project in northeast Indiana, Iowa and Minnesota to demonstrate and document how NRCS and partners can design and implement a systems approach to agricultural conservation to achieve greater water quality improvements.
A nationwide project by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities will analyze previous NRCS grants and use the results to provide guidance and tools to local watershed stakeholder groups improve the success and financial sustainability of incentive-based approaches to forested watershed projects.
2012 Selected Projects in Indiana
Kosciusko County SWCD will implement cover crops with a focus of monitoring nitrogen management at the watershed level and improving soil health.
Purdue University will focus on demonstrating the effectiveness of field management systems to maximize the uptake of swine manure after wheat, to optimize the release of nutrients for the subsequent corn crop and to reduce environmental implications of swine manure applications.
The Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts will integrate long-term continuous no-till/strip-till, cover crops, precision technology, nutrient management and pest management practices into productive, profitable and sustainable systems focused on soil health.
The Xerces Society will develop a long-term operations and maintenance guidance for established pollinator habitats.