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[Scholarship] USDA Commits $20 Million to Innovative Conservation Projects


Proposals sought for water quality, outreach, conservation, finance


GAINESVILLE, Fla., March 8, 2016USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is making $20 million available for new Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) nationwide.  Applications for national CIG projects are due by May 10.


CIG promotes science-based solutions to benefit producers and the environment. Projects may include on-farm pilot projects and field demonstrations, and should accelerate the transfer and adoption of promising technologies to landowners that address critical natural resource concerns.


CIG awards are made through a nationally competitive process. Projects may be single or multi-year, but cannot exceed three years. Projects must involve Environmental Quality Incentives Program eligible agricultural producers or landowners. At least 50 percent of the total cost of CIG projects must come from non-federal matching funds, which may include in-kind contributions. This year’s application process has been streamlined, eliminating the preproposal requirement, and increasing the maximum award amount to $2 million, up from $1 million in 2015.


In 2016, USDA is seeking projects to benefit historically underserved agricultural producers, veteran and beginning agricultural producers, improve and protect water quality, and demonstrate the effectiveness of public-private partnerships for conservation, sustainable agriculture and forestry.


“CIG successes can translate into new opportunities for historically underserved landowners, help resolve pressing water conservation challenges and leverage new investments in conservation partnerships with farmers, ranchers and other stakeholders,” said Russell Morgan, state conservationist for Florida.


The announcement for program funding can be found on Completed applications should be submitted through to

To learn about technical and financial assistance available from NRCS, go to Getting Started with NRCS.