USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is still accepting applications for Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG). The funding assistance program is designed to support new technologies or approaches that reinforce NRCS conservation efforts. Eligible projects may be watershed-based, regional, or statewide in scope.
“The CIG, or Conservation Innovation Grants, is a voluntary program that stimulates the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies in conjunction with agricultural production,” said Carlos Suarez, NRCS State Conservationist in California. “The one that we’re basically providing funding for right now is the state component and we have up to $750,000 available on a one to three years grants.”
The grants are most often used for supporting pilot projects, field demonstrations, as well as on-farm conservation research. Interested parties will need to provide non-Federal funding support that is equal to the amount of Federal Funds that are requested. The funding amount for the program has also recently been increased. “The maximum award actually has been increased from $75,000 that it used to be in the past, to now $125,000 in fiscal 2020,” Suarez noted.
Eligibility for the program includes individuals, tribal entities, non-governmental organizations, as well as state and local government entities. While California’s shelter in place order is still in effect, NRCS will continue to accept applications for the CIG program. Applications will need to be submitted electronically through Grants.gov, where all required documents and instructions can also be found.
“We still have the May 8th deadline for the submission of applications,” Suarez explained. “We have a website that provides the information, and there’s a link on our NRCS website that takes you to directly into the CIG grants and explains the process by which they can apply. But also, if they want to contact their local office, they can do so as well.”
Listen to the interview below.