The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting proposals for On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials. Project proposals will be accepted through Monday, June 21. On-Farm Trials are part of NRCS’s Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) program. A total of $25 million will be invested in On-Farm Trials for 2021. Producers will be provided with incentive payments to help mitigate the risk of implementing new conservation approaches.
“USDA is a leader in using the latest science, research and conservation tools to reduce the impacts of climate change,” Acting NRCS Chief Terry Cosby said in a press release. “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. Conservation Innovations Grants are an important tool in the development of new and innovative technologies and systems to support agriculture and conservation.”
The total investment will include up to $10 million for Soil Health Demonstration (SDH) Trials. The SDH component of the program emphasizes projects that include conservation approaches to improve soil health. Program priorities for On-Farm Trials include climate-smart ag solutions, soil health demonstration trials, irrigation water management, and management technology and strategies. The overall purpose of the program is to encourage partner organizations to assist NRCS in improving resource conservation and support climate-smart agriculture.
On-Farm Trials eligibility includes private entities and non-government organizations that area connected to agriculture. Non-federal government agencies are also eligible to submit a proposal. The project evaluation is a crucial component for On-Farm Trials projects. Program partners will need to produce a comprehensive evaluation of their project, including scientific evidence and analysis of the environmental and financial impact of the project.
NRCS has invested $50 million in 30 projects over the past two years through the program. On-Farm Trials are a separate component of the national CIG Classic grants program. NRCS will be making $15 million available to the CIG Classic program, with more details about this year’s funding opportunities expected in the coming weeks.