Conservation Innovation Supported by Significant Investment from USDA

Brian German Agri-Business, USDA-NRCS

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is investing up to $15 million to help support conservation innovation. The Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program helps farmers and landowners implement new tools, technologies, and practices for better natural resource conservation. All CIG proposals will need to be submitted by July 19. Non-federal entities and individuals are all eligible to apply for the program.

Conservation Innovation

“Through Conservation Innovation Grants, we’re able to co-invest with partners on the next generation of agricultural conservation solutions,” NRCS Chief Terry Cosby said in a news release. “Using creative problem solving and innovation, CIG partners work to address our nation’s most pressing natural resource concerns, all while helping to ensure the health and longevity of American agriculture.”

CIG projects will focus on climate-smart management practices for grazing land conservation, carbon sequestration, and nutrient management. The CIG program is comprised of three elements including CIG Classic, CIG On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials, and state-level CIG. Each of the components allows partners to address issues of soil health, water quality, and air quality while improving agricultural production. The latest funding announcement is for CIG Classic. The program helps support the implementation of new approaches for better conservation.

NRCS has announced its intention to designate at least 10 percent of total CIG Classic funding for projects benefitting historically underserved producers. CIG Classic grantees will need to match federal funding support on a one-to-one basis. USDA announced earlier in the year that CIG On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials will receive $25 million in funding support. Applications for that program are due by June 21. Funding support is designed to offset some of the risks for the implementation of new conservation approaches. The program brings together NRCS and other partners to try new on-the-ground conservation activities and to evaluate the potential benefits.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West