COLUMBIA, S.C. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s South Carolina Natural Resources Conservation Service (SC NRCS) is providing grants for agricultural innovation projects Those interested in applying must do so by June 1 by midnight.
The SC NRCS will fund $500,000 in Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG). Funds will be awarded through a statewide competitive grants process and eligible applicants include state and local governments, Tribal governments, eligible private business and individuals.
“The purpose of CIG is to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies in conjunction with agricultural production,” said Terry Kelly, SC State Resource Conservationist. “We expect CIG projects to lead to conservation technologies, management systems, and innovative approaches like market-based systems, to find their way into government technical manuals and guides, and to the private sector.”
Two emphasis areas identified for this call for proposals include: water quality activities which evaluate on-farm field trials and demonstration projects with a focus on the core conservation practices in any watershed in South Carolina; and on-farm trials to improve soil health on cropland and pastureland in any watershed in South Carolina. Up to 10 percent of the total funds available for CIG in FY 2021 is set aside for proposals from Historically Underserved producers, veteran farmers or ranchers, or community based organizations comprised of or representing these entities, as well as projects located in ‘food deserts’ (Low-income census tracks with a substantial number of residents with low levels of access to retail food outlets selling healthy and affordable foods).
Award amounts for a single award in FY 2021 will range from $50,000 to $115,000. The call for proposals requires applicants to share at least 50% of total project costs.
In addition, the watersheds with the highest priorities for this grant are Smith Swamp in Marion County, Big Creek-Little Saluda River in Saluda County, Upper Little Saluda River and Upper CAW, CAW Swamp – North Fork Edisto River in Calhoun and Orangeburg counties.
To submit a proposal by the June 1 deadline, visit https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/search-grants.html and enter NOFO0001084 for specifics on the SC NRCS CIG opportunity.
To learn more about the CIG, visit https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/financial/cig/. To apply, visit https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/learn-grants/grants-101/pre-award-phase.html You can contact Terry Kelly, firstname.lastname@example.org or you can visit the South Carolina NRCS website at https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/site/sc/home/.
–Michael Mascari, USDA NRCS