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Grants to USA Individuals and Non-Federal Agencies for Conservation Initiatives in Agriculture

Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) Classic Program


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
U.S. Department Of Agriculture (USDA) - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
CFDA Number: 10.912
Funding or PIN Number: USDA-NRCS-NHQ-CIGCLASSIC-23-NOFO0001311
Array ( [0] => American Samoa (USA); [1] => Guam (USA); [2] => Puerto Rico (USA); [3] => Virgin Islands (USA); [4] => Northern Mariana Islands (USA); )

Geographic Focus
USA Territories: American Samoa (USA);   Guam (USA);   Puerto Rico (USA);   Virgin Islands (USA);   Northern Mariana Islands (USA);

Important Dates
Deadline: 10/30/23 11:59 PM ET Receipt Save

Grant Description
Grants to USA and territories individuals and non-federal agencies to promote the adoption and development of innovative approaches to conservation in agriculture. Applicants are advised that required registrations may take several weeks to complete. Priority areas include forestry, habitat restoration, energy conservation, economics, water quality, and utilizing Indigenous knowledge for conservation.

The purpose of CIG is to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies in conjunction with agricultural production. CIG projects present innovations that are expected to result in the transfer of conservation technologies, management systems, and inventive approaches to agricultural producers (such as market-based systems) into technical manuals and guides and to be used in 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.

Innovative Conservation Projects or Activities:

  1. CIG funds development and field testing, on-farm research and demonstration, evaluation, or implementation of:
    1. Approaches to incentivizing conservation adoption, including market-based and conservation finance approaches; and
    2. Conservation technologies, practices, and systems.
  2. Projects or activities under CIG must:
    1. Comply with all applicable Federal, tribal, state, and local laws and regulations throughout the duration of the project;
    2. Use a technology or approach that was studied sufficiently to indicate a high probability for success;
    3. Demonstrate, evaluate, and verify the effectiveness, utility, affordability, and usability of natural resource conservation technologies and approaches in the field;
    4. Adapt and transfer conservation technologies, management practices, systems, approaches, and incentive systems to improve performance and encourage adoption; and
    5. 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 using those technologies and approaches demonstrates clear innovation.

For FY 2023, NRCS is only accepting proposals that address one or more of the priorities listed below. Each proposal must clearly identify a primary priority on the proposal cover page. The primary priority selected by an applicant will determine which expert peer panel will review the application.

  1. Forestry
  2. Habitat Conservation and Restoration for Wildlife and Invertebrates
  3. Managing Agricultural Lands to Improve Local Water Quality
  4. Energy Conservation
  5. Economics
  6. Strengthening Conservation through Indigenous Knowledge


  • Unrestricted (i.e., open to any type of entity below), subject to any clarification in the text field entitled "Additional Information on Eligibility"
  • Others (see text field entitled "Additional Eligibility Criteria" for clarification)

Additional Eligibility Criteria
This opportunity is open to all domestic non-Federal entities and individuals based in the United States for projects carried out in the United States. “Based in the United States” includes all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Caribbean Area (Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands), and the Pacific Islands Area (Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands).

Any award made pursuant to this NFO will be made to a single entity. Applicants that apply as “partnerships” or other similar groupings must clearly describe the relationship between the applicant and the “partner” parties. In all but exceptional cases, an awardee/sub-awardee relationship must be reflected in the award.

All CIG projects must involve EQIP-eligible producers that meet EQIP’s eligibility requirements listed in 7 CFR 1466.6(b)(1) through (3):
a. Must comply with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions (7 CFR Part 12).
b. Must be a person, joint operation, Indian tribe, or Native corporation, or other legal entity that is engaged in agricultural production or forestry management or has an interest in the agricultural or forestry operation as defined in 7 CFR Part 1400.
c. Must have control of the land involved for the term of the proposed contract period.

An applicant organization may submit more than one application for different projects or that propose different approaches.

Applicant entities identified in the exclusions database as ineligible, prohibited or restricted, or excluded from receiving Federal contracts and certain Federal assistance and benefits will not be considered for Federal funding, as applicable to the funding being requested under this Federal program (2 CFR 200.206(d)). Neither foreign entities nor individuals are eligible to apply for this opportunity.

For funding restrictions, see p. 32 of the NOFO in Attached Files.

Pre-Proposal Conference
A webinar for CIG Classic applicants is scheduled for September 12, 2023 at 2pm Eastern Time. Information on how to participate in the Microsoft Teams webinar can be obtained through the following link and phone number:

Join on your computer, mobile app or room device:

Or call in (audio only)
+1 202-650-0123
Phone Conference ID: 621 758 351#

Pre-Application Information
Applicants must submit their applications through by 11:59 pm Eastern Time on October 30, 2023.

The agency anticipates making selections by January 15, 2024 and expects to execute awards by May 31, 2024. These dates are estimates and are subject to change.

While a account is not required to download an NFO and related documents, it is required to submit an application. If your organization has never applied through, please be aware that there are several steps you must take to register your organization before you can submit an application. Completing those steps can take a significant amount of time, so plan accordingly.

Entities must obtain a UEI and register in SAM prior to registering with Although creating a account online can take only minutes, SAM registrations may take several weeks. Therefore, organizations should begin the process early to ensure they have sufficient time to complete registration and meet required application submission deadlines.

This NFO requires applicants to share 50 percent of total project costs. Project costs therefore, include Federal and non-Federal shares. The non-Federal share, or “match” provided by the applicant has to be a minimum of 50 percent of the total project costs, except for applicants competing for the HU set aside.

Press Release:

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For a list of application documents, see the Package tab (press Preview) on the page above.

Additional Funding Information

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants
The agency expects to make between 15 and 20 awards.

Estimated Size of Grant
The estimated funding floor for this opportunity is $250,000, and the estimated funding ceiling is $2 million.

Term of Contract
Projects may be between 1 to 3 years in duration. Applicants should plan their projects based on an estimated project start date of May 31, 2024.

Contact Information
For questions regarding this opportunity, please contact the following individual with the NFO number in the subject line:
Name: CIG Staff
Send a copy to: FPAC.BC.GAD@USDA.GOV

For technical issues with, contact Applicant Support at 1-800-518-4726 or Awarding agency staff cannot support applicants regarding accounts.

RFP & Supporting Documents
Full Grant Text RFP

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates / changes / addendums / conferences / LOIs.

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