Drainage Contractor

News
USDA announces availability of $12.5 million in Conservation Innovation Grants


June 18, 2019
By Drainage Contractor

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it will invest up to $12.5 million to help support the adoption of innovative conservation approaches on agricultural lands.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting proposals through July 30, 2019, for national Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG). All U.S.-based, non-Federal entities and individuals are eligible to apply.

The purpose of CIG is to boost the adoption and development of conservation approaches and the grants generally fund pilot projects, field demonstrations, and on-farm conservation research. CIG projects improve water quality, soil health, and wildlife habitat.

“Conservation Innovation Grants have helped spur new tools and technologies to conserve natural resources, build resilience in their operations, and improve their bottom lines, and we’re excited to see what these proposals will offer,” said Kurt Simon, NRCS state conservationist for Iowa.

National CIG

CIG supports the development and field testing, on-farm research and demonstration, evaluation, or implementation of conservation technologies, practices, and systems and approaches to incentivizing conservation adoption. Grantees must match the CIG investment at least one to one.

The 2019 CIG priorities are:

  • Increasing the pace and scale of conservation adoption
  • Water quantity
  • Pollinator habitat
  • Urban agriculture

The complete funding announcement information can be accessed through the Conservation Innovation Grants webpage. The National CIG program supports early pilot projects or demonstrations of promising conservation approaches.

The National CIG program is distinct from the $25 million announced on May 15 for On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials. On-Farm Trials is a new CIG component created by the 2018 Farm Bill. On-Farm Trials include a Soil Health Demo Trial.

Applications for this national CIG must be submitted through Grants.gov by 5 p.m. Eastern Time on July 30, 2019.