WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced today it will invest $15 million this year for the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) Classic program. Through CIG, grantees work to address our nation’s water quality, water quantity, air quality, soil health and wildlife habitat challenges, all while supporting agricultural production. This year’s funding priorities are climate-smart agriculture, addressing invasive species and conservation in urban agricultural systems.
“The challenges that farmers and ranchers face require innovative solutions to support their continued ability to produce the food and fiber we all depend on,” said Terry Cosby, Chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). “Invasive species are a continual problem, from weeds in cotton in the East to western bark beetles and other pests in the West. Climate change has led to more extreme weather and less available water for agriculture. At the same time, we are seeing opportunities for growth. Urban farming has increased, along with an interest in local foods and resilient food systems. We’re eager to help our nation’s farmers and ranchers address these challenges and opportunities, and science and innovation will help get us there.”
For the fiscal 2022 award process, at least 10% of the total funds available are set aside for proposals that entirely benefit historically underserved (HU) producers. This HU set-aside will ensure that equity is incorporated in the planning and delivery of CIG projects to align with NRCS’s Justice 40 goals. HU applicants can also waive the non-Federal match requirements.
Applications are being accepted now through October 11, 2022. Private entities whose primary business is related to agriculture, nongovernmental organizations with experience working with agricultural producers and non-federal government agencies are eligible to apply. For more information and to apply, visit grants.gov offsite link image .
The national CIG program has two parts: CIG Classic and CIG On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials. Through CIG Classic, grantees develop new tools, technologies and strategies to support next-generation conservation efforts on working lands and develop market-based solutions to resource challenges. CIG On-Farm Trials support more widespread adoption and evaluation of innovative conservation approaches in partnership with agricultural producers. Incentive payments are provided to producers to offset the risk of implementing innovative approaches. Last month, USDA announced $25 million in funding for CIG On-Farm Trials.
For more information about the Conservation Innovation Grants program, visit the NRCS website.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit usda.gov.