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U.S. Department of Agriculture: Conservation Innovation Grants

Deadline: February 26, 2018

Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) are competitive grants that stimulate the development and adoption of innovative 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 to agricultural producers, into NRCS technical manuals and guides, or to the private sector. CIG funds pilot projects, 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
  • Conservation technologies, practices, and systems

Projects or activities under CIG must comply with all applicable Federal, Tribal, State, and local laws and regulations throughout the duration of the project, and:

  • Make use of a technology or approach that has been studied sufficiently to indicate a high probability for success
  • Demonstrate, evaluate, and verify the effectiveness, utility, affordability, and usability of natural resource conservation technologies and approaches in the field
  • Adapt and transfer conservation technologies, management, practices, systems, approaches, and incentive systems to improve performance and encourage adoption
  • Introduce proven conservation technologies and approaches to a geographic area or agricultural sector where that technology or approach is not currently in use

The focus areas in this year’s competition are:

  • Grazinglands, including: 1) Grazing System Evaluation and Analysis; 2) Improving Ecosystem Function and Resilience through Prescribed Burning Programs; and 3) Grazingland Information Access Systems
  • Organic Agriculture Systems
  • Soil health, including: 1) Soil Health Management Systems and 2) Soil Health Assessments

Note: On-farm research is defined as an investigation conducted to answer a specific applied conservation question using a statistically valid design while employing farm-scale equipment on farms, ranches, or private forest lands.

Amount: $25,000,000 is available for grants of up to $2,000,000 each. The project duration is 1-3 years. The program will not fund more than 50% of the entire project cost.

Eligibility: Unrestricted – all U.S.-based non-federal entities and individuals, with the exception of Federal agencies, are eligible to apply. Projects must involve producers who meet the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) eligibility requirements.

Link: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/financial/cig/

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