Funds Available for CA Agriculture Innovation & Conservation

The United States Department of Food and Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced program funding for the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) for Federal fiscal year (FY) 2021 – California. Approximately $1 million is available for the California program with applications due April 23, 2021.

What is the purpose of Conservation Innovation Grants Program?

The purpose of CIG is to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies in conjunction with agricultural production. 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 government technical manuals and guides, or to the private sector. CIG generally funds pilot projects, field demonstrations, and on-farm conservation research. On-farm conservation research is defined as an investigation conducted to answer a specific applied conservation question using a statistically valid design while employing farm-scale equipment on farms, ranches, or private forest lands.

Who is eligible to apply?
All U.S.-based, non-Federal entities (NFE) and individuals are eligible to apply for projects carried out in California. The following entity types are eligible:
  1. City or township governments
  2. County governments
  3. For profit organizations other than small businesses
  4. Independent school districts
  5. Individuals
  6. Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
  7. Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
  8. Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS (other than institutions of higher education)
  9. Nonprofits that do not have a 501 (c)(3) status with the IRS (other than institutions of higher education)
  10. Private institutions of higher education
  11. Public and State-controlled institutions of higher education
  12. Public housing authorities/Indian housing authorities
  13. Small businesses
  14. Special district governments
  15. State governments
What types of projects are eligible?

All projects need to result in technology or methods that can be used to augment existing technical guidance; be designed with an understanding of agricultural practice standards, pertinent assessment tools, and planning criteria. 

Examples of project priorities include:
  • Improve plant and forest health/productivity
  • Improve air quality associated with agricultural operations
  • Work with agriculture operations to protect surface and groundwater quality
  • Improve soil health
  • Enhance habitat for terrestrial and aquatic species
What are the funding levels for this program?

The total estimated funding for California is $1 million with an estimated award ceiling amount of $150,000.

Is there a match requirement or cost sharing?

The Notice of Funding Opportunity requires applicants to share at least 50% of total project costs. Cost sharing may be achieved with contributions of cash, services, materials, equipment, or third-party in-kind contributions. Recipients with unrecovered indirect costs may also use those to meet cost-sharing obligations.

What is the grant program timeline?

Applications are due by 11:59pm PST on April 23, 2021. The agency anticipates making selections by May 21, 2021 and expects to execute awards by June 18, 2021.

The Request for Applications 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 grants@morrisonco.netor call us at 530-893-4764.


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