WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting proposals through May 11 for On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials (On-Farm Trials), now in its second year. On-Farm Trials, part of the agency’s Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) program, help support the adoption and evaluation of innovative conservation approaches on agricultural land.
“NRCS has achieved tremendous success seeking innovative technologies and approaches to enhance conservation for agricultural producers and forest landowners for nearly 20 years,” said NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr. “The 2018 Farm Bill enhanced CIG by strengthening its demonstration component, allowing the agency to work with producers and partners to discover new conservation approaches and tools or enhance existing ones.”
NRCS will invest up to $25 million on On-Farm Trials in 2020. This total includes up to $10 million for the Soil Health Demonstration Trials (SHD) priority.
On-Farm Trials funding is designed to offer, through partners, technical and financial assistance to producers to help compensate for any risks associated with implementation of new conservation practices, systems and approaches. In addition, the trials require evaluation of the innovative conservation practices, systems and approaches at the farm level, including environmental, financial and social, (to the extent possible) impacts of carrying them out.
NRCS is seeking proposals that address at least one of the following four On-Farm Trial main priorities:
- Irrigation Management Technologies;
- Precision Agriculture Technologies and Strategies;
- Management Technologies and Strategies; and
- Soil Health Demonstration Trials.
NRCS will accept proposals from the following eligible entities:
- Private entities whose primary business is related to agriculture;
- Non-government organizations with experience working with agricultural producers; and
- Non-federal government agencies.
This is the second funding opportunity for On-Farm Trials, authorized through the 2018 Farm Bill. In 2019, NRCS funded 16 On-Farm Trials projects.
The On-Farm Trials component is distinct from the national CIG competitive grants funding, which is used to support early pilot projects or demonstrations of promising conservation approaches and technologies and is not typically provided directly to producers.
— USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service