Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) are competitive grants that stimulate the development and adoption of innovative approaches and technologies for conservation on agricultural lands. CIG uses Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funds to award competitive grants to non-Federal governmental or nongovernmental organizations, American Indian Tribes, or individuals. Producers involved in CIG funded projects must be EQIP eligible.
Through CIG, NRCS partners with public and private entities to accelerate technology transfer and adopt promising technologies. These new technologies and approaches address some of the Nation's most pressing natural resources concerns. CIG benefits agricultural producers by providing more options for environmental enhancement and compliance with Federal, State, and local regulations.
2017 Michigan CIG Recipients
The Nature Conservancy
Project - Conservation Drain Finance
Grant Amount - $328,077
Project Description - The Nature Conservancy proposes to create a novel conservation delivery and funding approach to realize new financial benefits from the adoption of conservation practices through modified drain assessments in the Great Lakes region. Project partners including the Michigan Farm Bureau, the Monroe County Drain Commission, and Saginaw County Public Works Commissioner will create opportunities to better recognize and incentivize the benefits of conservation practices that improve the function or reduce the future maintenance costs of publicly managed drain systems while also improving water quality outcomes.
Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship
Project - Great Lakes Dairy Grazing Apprenticeships
Grant Amount - $503,000
Project Description - Transferring Innovative Managed Grazing Skills to Historically Underserved Dairy Producers in the Great Lakes Region through Formal Apprenticeship 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.
Keiser and Associates
Project - Strategic Water Quality Monitoring and Soil Sampling to Advance Systematic and Fundamental Changes in Agricultural Water Resources Management
Grant Amount - $74,900
Project Description - Use continuous monitoring equipment to measure nutrients and sediments from edge-of-field runoff monitoring devices. Data will be coupled with financial information from yield to identify economic incentives.
Institute for Water Research
Project - Computer Assisted Nutrient Management Planning Program
Grant Amount - $75,000
Project Description - Develop a Computer Assisted Nutrient Management Planning Program to streamline the development and documentation of nutrient management plans.
School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science - Michigan Technological University
Project - Validating and demonstrating forest road resurfacing technology to protect soil and water resources in an actively managed forest
Grant Amount - $47,577
Project Description - Demonstrate and evaluate technologies and approaches to mitigate the impacts of runoff during forestry operations.
The Nature Conservancy in Michigan
Project - Recycling watershed nutrients by using wetland invasive plants to improve crop soil health and fertility while reducing downstream nutrient loads
Grant Amount - $74,976
Project Description - Apply invasive cattail biomass to a farm field as a soil amendment to address two major environmental challenges to the Great Lakes; invasive species and excess nutrients entering the lakes.