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News Release

USDA Announces Availability of $12.5 million in Conservation Innovation Grants

Christine Hall, State Resource Conservationist

SOMERSET, NJ June 4, 2019 – USDA announced it is investing up to $12.5 million to help support the adoption of innovative conservation approaches on agricultural lands. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting proposals through July 30, 2019, for national Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) and July 14, 2019 for state CIG funding opportunities. CIG projects inspire creative problem-solving that boosts production on farms, ranches, and private forests - ultimately, they improve water quality, soil health, and wildlife habitat. All U.S.-based non-Federal entities and individuals are eligible to apply.

“Conservation Innovation Grants enable partners to co-invest with NRCS on the next generation of agricultural conservation solutions,” said NRCS State Conservationist Carrie Lindig for New Jersey. “Conservation Innovation Grants have helped spur new tools and technologies to conserve natural resources, build resilience in their operations, and improve their bottom lines, and we’re excited to see what these proposals will offer.”

National CIG

CIG support the development and field testing, on-farm research and demonstration, evaluation, or implementation of conservation technologies, practices, and systems and approaches to incentivizing conservation adoption. Grantees must match the CIG investment at least one to one.

The 2019 CIG priorities for the national program are:

  • Increasing the pace and scale of conservation adoption
  • Water quantity
  • Pollinator habitat
  • Urban agriculture

The complete funding announcement information can be accessed through the Conservation Innovation Grants webpage. The National CIG program supports early pilot projects or demonstrations of promising conservation approaches.

National CIG program is distinct from the $25 million announced on May 15 for On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials. On-Farm Trials is a new CIG component created by the 2018 Farm Bill. On-Farm Trials include a Soil Health Demo Trial.

Applications for this national CIG must be submitted through by 5 p.m. Eastern Time on July 30, 2019. A webinar for potential applicants is scheduled for 12 p.m. Eastern on June 11, 2019. Information on how to participate in the webinar is posted on the CIG website.

State NRCS CIG in New Jersey

In conjunction with the national CIG, NRCS is also offering CIG state-wide competitions (awards maximum of $75,000) in New Jersey. Projects must be within New Jersey and may be area-based or statewide in scope. State NRCS CIG priorities for 2019 are: Urban Agriculture, Soil Health, Forest Health, and Hydroponics. Please visit New Jersey NRCS website for information about state CIG competitions.[HC-NSN1]  Applications for the state CIG in New Jersey must be received by July 14, 2019.

More Information

On December 20, 2018, President Trump signed into law the 2018 Farm Bill, which provides support, certainty and stability to our nation’s farmers, ranchers and land stewards by enhancing farm support programs, improving crop insurance, maintaining disaster programs and promoting and supporting voluntary conservation. NRCS is committed to implementing these changes as quickly and effectively as possible, and today’s updates are part of meeting that goal.


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