WASHINGTON, The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the availability of $65 million through two funding opportunities for new tools, approaches, practices and technologies to further natural resource conservation on private lands through the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program. Of this funding, $25 million will be delivered through President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, the largest clean energy and climate investment in history, which directed USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to prioritize CIG On-Farm Trials projects that use diet and feed management to reduce enteric methane emissions from ruminants, as well as other projects that have climate mitigation benefits.
“This year’s Conservation Innovation Grants competition is unique in that we’re able to increase available funds because of President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, which will fund projects that address climate change, with a particular focus on solutions to reduce enteric methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas,” said NRCS Chief Terry Cosby. “Science and innovation are the keys to helping farmers, ranchers and forest landowners succeed in the face of global challenges, like climate change. We’re eager to see what innovations come to fruition and can be integrated into our programs and tools, thanks to this influx of new funding.”
This announcement is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America agenda, a key pillar of Bidenomics, to grow the American economy from the middle out and bottom up, by rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, driving over $500 billion in private sector manufacturing investments to date, creating good-paying jobs, and building a clean energy economy to tackle the climate crisis and make our communities more resilient. The Inflation Reduction Act provided an additional $19.5 billion for NRCS conservation programs, including $25 million for this year’s CIG On-Farm Trials. NRCS is committed to supporting farmers, ranchers, private landowners and Tribal Nations, to build resilient agricultural operations, combat climate change, ensure equity, and support voluntary conservation on working lands.
Two separate CIG funding opportunities are now available on grants.gov: $50 million through CIG On-Farm Trials and $15 million is available through CIG Classic.
For CIG On-Farm Trials, this year’s funding priorities are:
Irrigation water management technologies
Feeding management and enteric methane reduction
Soil health demonstration trials
For CIG Classic, this year’s funding priorities are:
Habitat conservation and restoration for wildlife and invertebrates
Managing agricultural lands to improve local water quality
Strengthening conservation through indigenous knowledge
Strong consideration will be given to proposals that include Historically Underserved entities and individuals.
This opportunity is open to all domestic non-federal entities and individuals based in the United States for projects carried out in the U.S.
Applications are being accepted now through October 30, 2023.
CIG is a competitive grants program. Through creative problem solving and innovation, CIG partners work to address our nation’s water quality, water quantity, air quality, soil health and wildlife habitat challenges, all while improving agricultural operations. CIG contributes to USDA’s efforts to address climate change through climate-smart agriculture.
CIG On-Farm Trials projects feature collaboration between NRCS and partners to implement on-the-ground conservation activities and then evaluate their impact. Incentive payments are provided to producers to offset the risk of implementing innovative approaches.
The Soil Health Demonstration (SHD) Trial component of On-Farm Trials focuses exclusively on implementation of conservation practices and systems that improve soil health.
A critical element of each On-Farm Trials project is the project evaluation. Partners must propose robust scientific approaches to their On-Farm Trials, resulting in data and analyses of the environmental, financial, and to the extent possible, social impacts of the trials.
NRCS will use the results of On-Farm Trials project evaluations and analyses to explore the development of new NRCS conservation assistance, guidance documents, technical tools, and conservation practice standards or modifications to existing ones.
Since 2004, CIG has invested $411.8 million to fund 842 innovative projects and 435 partners.