NRCS Funds On-Farm Trials Evaluating Conservation Approaches

The USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) invites applications for $25 million in total funding for the Fiscal Year 2022 Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials. The goal of the CIG On-Farm Trials is to stimulate the adoption and evaluation of innovative conservation approaches in partnership with agricultural producers. Applications must address at least one of four priorities: irrigation management technologies; climate smart agricultural solutions; nutrient management; and soil health demonstration (SHD) trial. Individual awards will range from $250,000 to $5 million, and grant applications are due September 22, 2022.


What is the purpose of On-Farm Trials?

The purpose of On-Farm Trials is to support the implementation of innovative approaches that have a positive conservation impact but which, for any number of reasons, have not yet been more widely adopted by producers. On-Farm Trials funding is designed to provide technical assistance and incentive payments to producers to help compensate for risks associated with implementation of new conservation practices, systems, and approaches. Evaluation is a key component of On-Farm Trials to ensure that environmental, financial, and social (to the extent possible) impacts of implementing innovative approaches are understood and can be used to inform future NRCS program, policy, and science activities.

The number of participating producers varies among On-Farm Trials projects, often reflecting the expense and complexity of the innovative approaches being implemented. Past projects range in producer participants from five to over a hundred. NRCS gives priority to projects that implement innovative conservation approaches applicable to a range of agricultural operation sizes and types.


Who is eligible to apply?

Eligibility for this opportunity is limited to the following entity types:

  1. City or township governments
  2. County governments
  3. For profit organizations other than small businesses
  4. Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
  5. Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
  6. Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS (other than institutions of higher education)
  7. Private institutions of higher education
  8. Public and State-controlled institutions of higher education
  9. Small businesses
  10. Special district governments
  11. State governments

Individuals are not eligible applicants. For-profit entities are eligible for On-Farm Trials if their primary business is related to agriculture. Nonprofit entities are eligible for On-Farm Trials if they have experience working with agricultural producers. Eligible entities must have access to a sufficient number of producer participants in order to facilitate implementing On-Farm Trials of conservation practices and systems on private lands. NRCS encourages applications from partners working in urban agriculture settings.


How much funding is available?

Out of a total funding pool of $25 million, NRCS expects to award individual grants ranging from $250,000 to $5 million. On-Farm Trials Awards must include incentive payments disbursed to agricultural producers on whose land project activities are being carried out.


Does this funding require a match?

Yes, this funding opportunity requires applicants to provide matching funds of at least 25 percent of the Federal amount requested. Cost sharing may be achieved with contributions of cash, services, materials, equipment, or third-party in-kind contributions. Recipients may also use indirect costs to meet cost-sharing obligations.


The CIG On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) can be found here.

For more information on this grant or how to apply with Morrison’s assistance, please contact the Morrison Grants Team by email at or call us at 530-893-4764.


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