Sep 13, 2022
NRCS accepting bids for $40 million in grants focused on smart farming, soil health

The USDA’s National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) released two National Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) Notices of Funding Opportunity. Both are accepting applications.

The CIG On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials (OFT) program will award up to $25 million for projects addressing Irrigation Water Management Technologies, Climate Smart Agricultural Solutions, Nutrient Management and Soil Health Demonstration Trial priority areas. OFT is accepting applications via through Sept. 22.

The CIG Classic program will award up to $15 million for projects proposing solutions to support producer adaptation to extreme weather events; building resilience through emerging production systems for climate smart agriculture; combating invasive species; and conservation in urban agricultural systems. CIG Classic is accepting applications via through Oct. 11.

Both programs are setting aside at least 10% of funding to proposals benefiting Historically Underserved (HU) producers or entities. Qualifying HU applicants may be eligible for a reduced project cost-share. Learn more by visiting the NRCS CIG Homepage or emailing [email protected].

Feedback sought on website, research tool

Since early 2019, NRCS has been working to develop and update the CIG website and search tool, part of the larger Conservation Practice Database project mandated by the 2018 Farm Bill. This project aims to improve information sharing about CIG project results with producers, conservationists and other stakeholders. The CIG-CPD Team is interested in obtaining additional input, feedback and direction from external stakeholders. The team will host informational sessions to demonstrate its ideas for moving forward with the project. During these sessions, the team hopes to collect ideas from individual stakeholders on how to implement and steer the project. Anyone interested should email [email protected].

USDA investing $197 million in partner-driven conservation

On Aug. 12, USDA announced awards in the amount of $197 Million for 41 locally led conservation projects through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). RCPP is a partner-driven program that leverages partner resources to advance innovative projects that address climate change, enhance water quality and address other critical challenges on agricultural land.

The projects funded are awarded under two different RCPP funding opportunities: RCPP Classic and RCPP Alternative Funding Arrangements (AFA). RCPP Classic projects are implemented using NRCS contracts and easements with producers, landowners, and communities, in collaboration with project partners. Through RCPP AFA, partners have more flexibility in working directly with agricultural producers to support the development of new conservation structures and approaches that would not otherwise be available under RCPP Classic.

Read the press release at USDA Investing $197 Million in Partner-Driven, Locally led Conservation|NRCS.

New RCPP Grants Opportunity to Improve Nutrient Management

On Aug. 15, USDA announced several new initiatives related to nutrient management, including a special RCPP Grants funding opportunity that is currently open on This funding opportunity makes up to $40 million available for nutrient management projects.

New RCPP Funding Through the Inflation Reduction Act 

The Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law by President Biden on August 16, makes a historic investment in RCPP. Almost $5 billion in new RCPP funding is included in the law for fiscal years 2023 to 2026. Stay tuned for more information on how NRCS intends to put this funding to work with partners and eligible producers and landowners. 

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