Proposals for the new On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials (On-Farm Trials) program from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will be accepted through July 15. The additional sub-program was created by the 2018 Farm Bill for the USDA’s Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program. Over the next five years, USDA will be investing up to $125 million toward the further advancement of implementing conservation approaches on agricultural lands.
“Our Conservation Innovation Grants program is time-tested, highly successful and has led to tremendous discoveries and enhancements in conservation over the years,” NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr said in a news release. “The addition of On-Farm Trials and the Soil Health Demo Trial provide us with expanded opportunities to work with partners to encourage the adoption of innovative conservation approaches that, for any number of reasons, have yet to be widely adopted by agricultural producers.”
NRCS is accepting proposals from eligible entities which includes private entities primarily related to agriculture, non-governmental organizations with a history of working with the agriculture industry, and non-Federal government agencies. NRCS will collaborate with partners to encourage the application of innovative practices and systems that provide conservation benefits on agricultural lands. Funding for the program will be dispersed through collaborative partners who will provide technical assistance and distribute payments to producers directly.
“We are asking partners that have access to producer networks to join us in putting innovative conservation under the microscope to figure out how to expand the adoption of innovative practices and systems,” Chief Lohr said. “NRCS intends to use On-Farm Trials results to inform our own work with farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.”
The minimum award amount for 2019 is $250,000, with a maximum award limit of $5 million. Additional information about the program is available on the NRCS website. Potential applicants can also gather further information from a webinar scheduled for May 29.