NOFO: Conservation Innovation Grants State Program

Natural Resources Conservation Service

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Sector: Food and AgricultureWildlife and Biodiversity
Last date: Friday, May 13, 2022
Country: United States

Detailed Description

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced the Notice of Funding Opportunity for Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies in conjunction with agricultural production.

CIG projects are expected to lead to the transfer of conservation technologies, management systems, and innovative approaches (such as market-based systems) to agricultural producers, into government technical manuals and guides, or to the private sector.

CIG generally funds pilot projects, field demonstrations, and on-farm conservation research. On-farm conservation research is defined as an investigation conducted to answer a specific applied conservation question using a statistically valid design while employing farm-scale equipment on farms, ranches or private forest lands.

The Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program is authorized as part of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) . The Secretary of Agriculture delegated the authority for the administration of EQIP, including CIG, to the Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). EQIP is funded and administered by NRCS under the authorities of Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC).

CIG Priorities for FY 2022:

  • Water Quality Priority: The objective of this priority is to develop innovative technologies, approaches, and or methods associated with agricultural operations to improve water quality while maintaining productive farming practices for sustainability.
  • Silvopasture: The objective of this priority is to implement an environmentally sound silvopasture/prescribed grazing system that benefits both long-term forest quality and livestock health. Proposals shall utilize innovative technologies, approaches, and or methods for manipulating forest stocking and establishing pasture in the forest understory.
  • Aquaculture The objective of this priority is to investigate the opportunities available to improve aquaculture habitats and farming practices for the restoration of shellfish reefs, improved aquatic ecosystems, removal of nitrogen leachate, and contributions to the improvement of coastal resiliency and climate change.

Funding Criteria

  • Estimated Total Program Funding: $200,000
  • Award Ceiling: $200,000
  • Award Floor: $40,000

Innovative Conservation Projects or Activities

  • CIG funds the development and field testing, on-farm research and demonstration, evaluation, or implementation of:
  • Approaches to incentivizing conservation adoption, including market-based and conservation finance approaches; and
  • Conservation technologies, practices, and systems.
  • Projects or activities under CIG must comply with all applicable federal, tribal, state, and local laws and regulations throughout the duration of the project; and
  • Use a technology or approach that was studied sufficiently to indicate a high probability for success;
  • Demonstrate, evaluate, and verify the effectiveness, utility, affordability, and usability of natural resource conservation technologies and approaches in the field;
  • Adapt and transfer conservation technologies, management, practices, systems, approaches, and incentive systems to improve performance and encourage adoption;
  • Introduce proven conservation technologies and approaches to a geographic area or agricultural sector where that technology or approach is not currently in use.
  • Technologies and approaches that are eligible for funding in a project’s geographic area using an EQIP contract for an established conservation practice standard are ineligible for CIG funding, except where the use of those technologies and approaches demonstrates clear innovation.

Eligibility Criteria

All U.S.-based non-Federal entities (NFE) and individuals, with the exception of Federal agencies, are eligible to apply for projects carried out in Massachusetts. The following entity types are eligible:

  • City or township governments
  • County governments
  • For profit organizations other than small businesses
  • Independent school districts
  • Individuals
  • Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
  • Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
  • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS (other than institutions of higher education)
  • Nonprofits that do not have a 501 (c)(3) status with the IRS (other than institutions of higher education)
  • Private institutions of higher education
  • Public and State-controlled institutions of higher education
  • Public housing authorities/Indian housing authorities
  • Small businesses
  • Special district governments
  • State governments


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