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NRCS invites proposals for 2019 Conservation Innovation Grants

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in California is now accepting proposals for its Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program. Up to $500,000 is available for one- to three-year grants. The maximum award amount for any project will not exceed $75,000 in fiscal year 2019. Proposals are due by June 10, 2019.

CIG is a voluntary program to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies in conjunction with agricultural production. The proposed projects should augment existing NRCS technical tools (planning, assessment and/or delivery) to better facilitate conservation on farms and ranches.

“These grants present an outstanding opportunity for us as an Agency to find the intersection between cutting-edge, innovative thinkers and on-the-ground conservation doers,” said Tom Hedt, Assistant State Conservationist for NRCS in California. “It’s a chance for us to explore the sweet spot between the visionary and the doable.”

CIG projects are expected to lead to the transfer of conservation technologies, management systems, and innovative approaches (such as market-based systems) to agricultural producers, into NRCS technical manuals and guides, or to the private sector. CIG generally funds pilot projects, field demonstrations, and on-farm conservation research.

In 2019 NRCS California is prioritizing proposals that improve the “technical toolbox” to address the following on-farm resource concerns: soil health, water quality and quantity; plant quality; air quality; forestland health; wildlife; energy conservation; and waste recycling- resource conservation. Applicants are encouraged to explore the full program announcement to better match their proposals to these needs. Please see

Funds will be awarded through a statewide competitive grants process and in 2019 will not include a pre-proposal process. Eligible applicants include state and local government, nongovernment organizations, Tribal governments, eligible private business and individuals. Applicants may contact Erik Beardsley at for more information.

Applications must be received by 5 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on June 10, 2019. Applications must be submitted electronically through In addition, a PDF of the complete application must be emailed to Both submissions must be received by the submission due date. Below is a link to the national CIG webpage project search tool, where limited information on past California projects can be found.

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