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NRCS: Conservation Innovation Grants Program in Wisconsin


NRCS is announcing the availability of Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) State Program funding to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies.

Donor Name: U.S. Department of Agriculture

State: Wisconsin

County: All Counties

Type of Grant: Grant

Deadline: 05/02/2023

Size of the Grant: $500,000

Grant Duration: 3 years


Purpose of the 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.

Innovative Conservation Projects or Activities

CIG funds the development and field testing, on-farm research and demonstration, evaluation, or implementation of:

  • Approaches to incentivizing conservation adoption, including market-based and conservation finance approaches; and
  • Conservation technologies, practices, and systems.

Projects or activities under CIG must comply with all applicable federal, tribal, state, and local laws and regulations throughout the duration of the project; and

  • Use a technology or approach that was studied sufficiently to indicate a high probability for success;
  • Demonstrate, evaluate, and verify the effectiveness, utility, affordability, and usability of, natural resource conservation technologies and approaches in the field;
  • Adapt and transfer conservation technologies, management, practices, systems, approaches, and incentive systems to improve performance and encourage adoption;
  • Introduce proven conservation technologies and approaches to a geographic area or, agricultural sector where that technology or approach is not currently in use.

Technologies and approaches that are eligible for funding in a project’s geographic area using an EQIP contract for an established conservation practice standard are ineligible for CIG funding, except where the use of those technologies and approaches demonstrates clear innovation.

CIG Priorities for FY 2023

Conservation Planning: Conservation professionals use a nine-step planning process for planning, developing, implementing, and evaluating individual conservation plans that are used by agriculture and forest producers to protect, conserve, and enhance natural resources from a social and economic perspective. Tools to measure benchmark conditions and address resource concerns in diverse operations, including urban and community agriculture systems, are needed to further advance conservation planning.

Manure Management Systems: Manure management systems encompass six functions: production, collection, storage, treatment, transfer, and utilization. Manure storage structures temporarily store manures or other by-products until they can be safely applied to the land or otherwise used. During this time, manure can leak into surface or ground water, release greenhouse gases, ammonia, and odors, and take up farmstead space. Increasing or concentration of animal units, especially on dairy farms, the intensity of crop production, changes in precipitation, and urbanization have created numerous challenges for manure management. Manure management in areas with karst bedrock has led to nitrate and pathogen contamination of groundwater. NRCS is seeking new manure management methods, technologies, and demonstrations for storage, handling, and application of manure, especially to manage nitrogen, phosphorus, pathogen loss, odor control, and water quality.

Climate Smart Management Systems: Climate Smart Management Systems Climate Smart Management Systems are a collection of conservation practices that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, increase resilience to extreme weather events, and improve soil health, while maintaining productivity on working lands. By taking a systems approach to conservation and applying soil health practices, the USDA serves as a leader in the agriculture and forestry sectors, mitigating floods, droughts, wildfires, and other climate-related disaster events while supporting clean air, water, and communities. When applied in agricultural systems, the four soil health principles—minimize disturbance, maximize soil cover, maximize biodiversity, and maximize the presence of living roots can help mitigate climate change by reducing fertilizer and fuel inputs, sequestering carbon, and decreasing stormwater runoff. Forestland conservation and preservation can also help mitigate climate change. By reducing forest degradation and promoting carbon sequestration, forests can be a sink for carbon and provide wildlife habitat, reduce wildfires, address food sovereignty, and improve rural economies.

Proposed projects must be performed in Wisconsin.

Funding Information

  • Estimated Total Funding Amount: $500,000
  • Maximum Funding Amount: $500,000
  • Minimum Funding Amount: $50,000
  • Period of Performance: Projects may be between 1 and 3 years in duration. Applicants should plan their projects based on an estimated project start date of September 30, 2023.

Eligible Applicants

All U.S. domestic, non-Federal entities and individuals are eligible to apply for projects carried out in Wisconsin. US Federal agencies are not eligible to apply to this opportunity or impart their work to non-federal portion of the budget.

For more information, visit Grants.gov.

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