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NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG)

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

07/19/21 11:59 PM ET


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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 funding areas include water resources and increased resilience, soil health, nutrient management, grazing lands conservation, and increasing conservation adoption.

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 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 means an investigation conducted to answer a specific applied conservation question using a statistically valid design while employing farmscale equipment on farms, ranches, or private forest lands. 

Innovative Conservation Projects or Activities:

  1. CIG funds the 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 the use of those technologies and approaches demonstrates clear innovation.

NRCS strongly encourages the submission of CIG proposals addressing the innovative conservation needs of urban farmers in metropolitan areas. Interest in urban agriculture continues to grow, and there is a common need to address complex natural resource concerns related to the climate change, water conservation, and soil health priorities described in section A.4 of the NFO.

NRCS intends to award at least 10 percent of the funds available through this notice to proposals from historically underserved producers or community-based organizations comprised of or representing these entities.

Priorities can be found starting on page 6 of the NFO. See Attached Documents, below.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 129980

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

The agency expects to make between 15 and 25 awards.

Estimated Size of Grant:

- Award Ceiling: $2,000,000
- Award Floor: $300,000

Term of Contract:

Projects may be between 1 and 3 years in duration. Applicants should plan their projects based on an estimated project start date of March 1, 2022.

Additional 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 the United States. “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.

Funding restrictions can be found on page 26 of the NFO. See Attached Documents, below.

Pre-proposal Conference:

A webinar for CIG Classic applicants is scheduled for June 8, 2021 at 3 p.m. Eastern Time.

For more information, see the URL for Full Text, below.

Pre-Application Information:

Proposals must be submitted through the NRCS Program Portal by 11:59 p.m. ET on July 19, 2021.

Questions about this announcement can be emailed to staff. A “Frequently Asked Question” document based on questions submitted during the webinar or submitted to the Federal awarding agency contact will be posted on at least 2 weeks before the proposal due date.

CIG Classic grantees must match each federal dollar invested at least one to one.

Each applicant entity (individuals are not subject to the DUNS or SAM requirements) is required to obtain a DUNS Number and register with the SAM system. DUNS and SAM registrations may take several weeks. Organizations should begin the process early to ensure they have sufficient time to complete registration and meet required application submission deadlines.

The designated system user must have USDA eAuthentication (eAuth) level-2 credentials to apply through the NRCS Programs Portal. This is a Departmental requirement and is non-negotiable. Individuals with active eAuth accounts do not need to re-register. For individuals needing to register, obtaining a USDA level-2 e-Authentication account can be accomplished from the USDA eAuth home page:

Once eAuth credentials are secured, the next step is to register in the NRCS Programs Portal. To do this, send a registration request to the NRCS Programs Portal system by clicking on the link below and then selecting “Start Here” under “New Users.”

Press Release:

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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.

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Questions about this announcement can be directed to

CFDA Number:


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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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