Home » Agriculture and Farming » NRCS’ Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) 2023 – Montana

NRCS’ Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) 2023 – Montana


The Natural Resources Conservation Service 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: Natural Resources Conservation Service

States: Montana

County: All Counties

Type of Grant: Grant

Deadline: 05/26/2023

Size of the Grant: $75,000

Grant Duration: 3 years


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.

CIG Priorities for 2023

  • Community Agriculture:
    • Develop innovative approaches to help Urban (Community) Agriculture have a stronger and more sustainable presence in Montana.
  • Soil Health:
    • Develop basic technology to improve understanding and monitoring for landowners regarding adaptation strategies and management practices for cropping systems affected by salinity build up and dynamics in Montana soils.
    • Develop basic technology to improve understanding and monitoring for landowners regarding adaptation strategies and management practices for cropping systems affected by acidity build up and dynamics in Montana soils.
    • Demonstrate integrated systems with practices and management for increasing soil organic matter.
    • Quantify the impacts of cover crop presence, species mix, and management (e.g., termination growth stage, tillage practice, grazing) on soil water content and subsequent crop yield across a range of climates and cropping systems, especially in water limited regions.
    • Innovative development and promotion of a soil health network, farmer to farmer network, in Montana to advance soil health technology (research and applied research), implementation and adoption of soil health management systems on perennial and annual crops in Montana.
  • Irrigation Technology:
    • Subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) systems apply water below the soil surface through buried irrigation tape with embedded emitters. In the western states, SDI has been used to support the production of high value crops. However, SDI has not been commonly applied Montana. Projects should help better understand the potential for SDI in Montana and potential regional limitations on irrigated land.
    • To help agricultural producers in Montana better understand the feasibility of crop production utilizing SDI, NRCS is requesting proposals that identify the limiting factors that may dictate the success and feasibility of SDI within the state. Results should be characterized to show regional differences across irrigated land in Montana and identify areas where SDI is most and least likely to be a viable alternative for irrigation of typical crop rotations.
  • Range Health:
    • The objective of this priority is to develop and/or implement new technologies, methods, or market-based approaches to maintain, restore, or enhance plant health and vigor on pasture and range lands while sustaining productivity.
  • Water Quality and Quantity:
    • Develop innovative water management systems that enhance a producer’s ability to monitor irrigation needs effectively and efficiently, incorporate water demand strategies, improve drought resiliency, and increase water, energy, and nutrient savings while maintaining high levels of agricultural production.
  • Proposed projects must be performed in Montana.

Funding Information

  • Award Ceiling: $75,000
  • Award Floor: $25,000
  • Projects may be between 1 and 3 years in duration.

Eligibility Criteria

All U.S. domestic, non-Federal entities and individuals are eligible to apply for projects  carried out in Montana. 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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