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NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG)

Grants to USA Nonprofits, For-Profits, Agencies,
and Individuals for Conservation in Agriculture

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

06/29/20 11:59 PM EST Receipt


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Grants to USA and territories nonprofits, for-profits, non-federal agencies, tribes, and individuals 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 funding areas include water quality, water reuse, wildlife, air quality, and energy 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 are expected to lead to the transfer of conservation technologies, management systems, and innovative approaches (such as market-based systems) to agricultural producers, into NRCS 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.

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;
  • 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; and
  • Introduce proven conservation technologies and approaches to a geographic area or agricultural sector where that technology or approach is not currently in use. 

Up to 10 percent of the total funds available for CIG in FY 2020 is set-aside for proposals from historically underserved producers, veteran farmers or ranchers, or community-based organizations comprised of or representing these entities. 

CIG Priorities for FY 2020:

  1. Water Quality: NRCS is seeking proposals that demonstrate innovative approaches that improve water quality while maintaining agricultural productivity. 
  2. Water Reuse:  NRCS is seeking proposals that demonstrate innovative approaches that incorporate water reuse and maintain or improve water quality and agricultural productivity. 
  3. Wildlife:  To improve and demonstrate the effectiveness of conservation planning and Farm Bill implementation for wildlife benefit, NRCS requests proposals for innovative tools to help plan for and measure the collective contribution of the individual landowners providing and managing wildlife habitat. 
  4. Air Quality: NRCS currently works with agricultural producers to address the following five air quality resource concerns:
    • Emissions of particulate matter (PM) and PM precursors
    • Emissions of ozone precursors
    • Emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs)
    • Emissions of airborne reactive nitrogen
    • Objectionable odors 
  5. Energy Conservation: NRCS began to formally address energy resource concerns in 2010 and has recently embarked on a path to improve methods to more efficiently and effectively help producers implement energy conservation practices across the country. To augment that internal effort, NRCS seeks proposals for innovative ways to increase energy conservation on agricultural operations. 

For additional information and sub-priorites for each priority area, see pages 3-6 of the NOFO document in Attached Files below. 

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 129980

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

The funding minimum for a single award is $150,000 and the maximum for a single award is $2 million.

Term of Contract:

Proposals can be between 1 to 3 years in duration. Applicants should plan their projects based on a project start date of December 31, 2020.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

All U.S.-based non-Federal entities (NFE) and individuals, with the exception of Federal agencies, are eligible to apply. Individuals and entities may submit more than one application and may receive more than one award.

U.S. in “U.S.-based” includes any of the 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).

All CIG projects must involve EQIP-eligible producers that meet EQIP’s eligibility requirements listed in 7 CFR § 1466.6(b)(1) through (3)

- Be in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions (7 CFR Part 12).
- Be a person, legal entity, joint operation, Indian Tribe, or Native corporation who 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.
- Have control of the land involved for the term of the proposed contract period. C

Pre-proposal Conference:

CIG Webinar for Applicants of 2020 Notice of Funding

This webinar will answer questions on the classic Conservation Innovation Grants program notice of funding opportunity number USDA-NRCS-NHQ-CIG-20-GEN0010808.

MAY 13, 2020 - 3 pm Eastern Time

Link: offsite link image

Meeting ID: 160 191 5254
Password: 024024

Dial by your location
+1 669 254 5252 US (San Jose)
+1 646 828 7666 US (New York)
Meeting ID: 160 191 5254

For more information:

Pre-Application Information:

Applications must be received through the web portal by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday June 29, 2020.

Applications must be submitted electronically through Submissions must be received by the time and date due. Late submissions will not be reviewed or considered. The agency will rely on system-generated date and time receipt documentation for submission made via to determine whether applications meet the submission deadline.

NFEs must obtain a DUNS and register in SAM prior to registering with NFEs are strongly encouraged to apply early for their DUNS number and SAM registration.

- Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number: CIG applicants must obtain a DUNS number. Information on how to obtain a DUNS number can be found at or by calling 1-866-705-5711.
- System for Award Management (SAM) Registration: To register, go to The Federal Service Desk is available for registration assistance and can be contacted through the Help tab at the website listed above.

CIG recipients must provide a non-Federal funding match or cost-share amount at least equal to the amount of Federal funding requested. Applications that do not include cost-sharing will be ineligible for award. Cost sharing may be achieved with contributions of cash, services, materials, equipment, or third-party in-kind contributions.

NRCS anticipates announcing CIG selections through a USDA press release no later than October 31, 2020.

News release:

View this opportunity on

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

Contact Information:

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

1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Room 6143-S
Washington, D.C. 20250

Questions about this announcement can be directed to

CFDA Number:


Funding or Pin Number:


URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

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

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