Proposals sought for innovations for conservation on ag lands

Natural Resources Conservation Service

HURON, S.D. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is seeking proposals through June 21 for both national and state-level Conservation Innovation Grants.

In agriculture, innovation grants help apply conservation practices that will boost production on farms and ranches.

“The CIG offers opportunities to develop and demonstrate on-farm conservation approaches, tools, practices, or technologies with a record of success but not yet widely adopted,” says Laura Broyles, acting South Dakota state conservationist. On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials (On-Farm Trials) are part of the agency’s CIG program that features collaboration between NRCS and partners to implement on-the-ground conservation activities and then evaluate their impact. Incentive payments are provided to producers to offset the risk of implementing innovative approaches.

Authorized through the Farm Bill, CIG is funded through the USDA NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

“The USDA is a leader in using the latest science, research, and conservation tools to reduce the impacts of climate change,” said Broyles. “We’re doing our part in helping America’s farmers and ranchers conserve the natural resources we all depend on, like clean air and water, while supporting the health and resiliency of their operations for the future.”

All CIG projects must involve EQIP-eligible producers.

Applicants must provide the federal award with at least 1:1 nonfederal matching funds which can be cash, in-kind contributions, or a combination. The CIG funds can be applied to a single or multi-year, not to exceed three-year project.

“Our partner’s CIG projects are expected to lead to the transfer of conservation technologies, management systems, and innovative approaches to agricultural producers, into government technical manuals and guides, or to the private sector,” says Broyles. “The national priorities and our SD priorities as well as eligibility, application forms, and details for proposals for CIG funding are listed in the respective grants.gov announcements.”

A critical element of each On-Farm Trials project is the project evaluation. Partners must propose robust scientific approaches for their projects, resulting in data and analyses of the environmental, financial and, to the extent possible, social impacts of the trials. The CIG announcements are posted on www.grants.gov, keyword search “NRCS CIG.” For more information on CIG On-Farm Trials, visit the USDA NRCS’ On-Farm Trials webpage, found at https://bit.ly/3gOcY2T.

For those new to submitting grants through the grants.gov system, there are several preliminary steps required. To register, go to www.grants.gov, click on “Applicants,” then click on “Get Registered.”