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News Release

USDA Announces $15 Million for Conservation Innovation Grants


April 28, 2020

WASHINGTON –The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today a $15 million investment to help support the adoption of innovative conservation approaches on agricultural lands. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting proposals through June 29, 2020, for national Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG). CIG projects inspire creative problem-solving solutions that boost production on farms, ranches and private forests and improve natural resources.

This year’s priorities are water reuse, water quality, air quality, energy and wildlife habitat.

“Through Conservation Innovation Grants, we’re able to co-invest with partners on the next generation of agricultural conservation solutions,” said Xavier Montoya, State Conservationist in New Mexico. “Conservation Innovation Grants have helped spur new tools and technologies to conserve natural resources, build resilience in producers’ operations and improve their bottom lines. This year will be the first time we are offering water reuse as a priority, and we’re excited to see how these projects play a role in USDA’s broader strategy for water reuse on agricultural land.”

National CIG

CIG is a competitive grants program that supports development, testing and research of conservation technologies, practices, systems and approaches on private lands. Grantees must match the CIG investment at least one to one.

All U.S.-based non-Federal entities and individuals are eligible to apply. 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 and is distinct from the $25 million announced on March 12 for On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials. On-Farm Trials is a separate CIG component created by the 2018 Farm Bill. It includes a Soil Health Demonstration Trial.


The deadline to submit an application for the New Mexico CIG is May 23, 2020. The funding announcement seeking proposals is published on and is available here.

To apply for state CIG, projects must be carried out entirely within New Mexico and may be statewide in scope or focus on a smaller region or watershed. CIG State competitions complement the national CIG competition and enable NRCS to better address natural resource concerns at the local level. The CIG priorities for FY20 in New Mexico are increased biodiversity to control pests, implementing soil health management systems, water conservation, and restoring wildlife and fish habitat.

Applicants submitting proposals may request up to $75,000 of matching federal funds. Applicants must match the Federal award at least 1:1. Matching funds can be cash, in-kind or a combination of both. CIG projects must involve Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) eligible producers.

Applicants must carefully follow the instructions in the announcement of funding to ensure that the State priorities will be met with the proposal. Applications that are incomplete, do not specify the cost-share match, or do not meet the eligibility requirements will not be considered. For more information visit the website opportunity number USDA-NRCS-NM-CIG-20-GEN0010756.

More Information

NRCS’s CIG program is identified in the federal government’s National Water Reuse Action Plan as an opportunity to support development of innovative projects that focus on water reuse on private lands. Read this April 28 post on the USDA Blog for how USDA is working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Interior, Department of Energy and others to promote water reuse across sectors.

CIG applications must be submitted through by 11:59 p.m. EDT on June 29, 2020. A webinar for potential applicants is scheduled for 3 p.m. EDT on May 13, 2020. Information on how to participate in the webinar is posted on the CIG website.

CIG also contributes to the Agriculture Innovation Agenda: a USDA initiative to align resources, programs, and research to position American agriculture to better meet future global demands. Specifically, USDA is working to stimulate innovation so that American agriculture can achieve the goal of increasing production by 40 percent while cutting the environmental footprint of U.S. agriculture in half by 2050.

For more information on CIG, visit or contact your local NRCS field office.


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