NRCS provides funding opportunities for agriculturalists and others through various programs. Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) is a voluntary program intended to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural production. Under CIG, Environmental Quality Incentives Program funds are used to award competitive grants to non-Federal governmental or nongovernmental organizations, Tribes, or individuals.

2017 and 2018 CIG projects are included together on an interactive map created by USDA

2016 CIG projects can be found by clicking here

2015 Featured Projects

Demonstration of a Scalable Nutrient Management Project

The project aims to reduce nitrous oxide emissions and nitrate leaching from agriculture by incentivizing optimized nitrogen fertilizer applications by helping farmers participate in environmental markets and earn revenue for the environmental benefits they create.

The overarching objective of this new CIG-funded project is to continue to improve carbon offset opportunities for grassland-based producers and, through innovation, ensure the provision of important ecosystem services.

This project will build on ongoing efforts to promote rotational grazing in the Chesapeake Bay watershed by developing a robust regional network of grazers in PA, VA and MD, quantifying the environmental and economic benefits of converting to a rotational grazing system, exploring related market-based opportunities for grazers (i.e., carbon and nutrient trading programs) and sharing this information via the network.

The goal of this project is to increase participation in California’s cap and trade market among small and medium-size forest landowners. Under this project, the Reserve will develop a highly standardized inventory methodology and provide data management and reporting tools, which is anticipated to reduce implementation barriers for forest carbon projects.

Stimulating Grassland Conservation through GHG Markets

This project will expand adoption of the avoided conversion of grassland to cropland protocol and greatly reduce barriers to implementation of this project activity by: (1) developing tools and procedures to assist landowners and project developers; (2) conducting outreach and education; (3) identifying and implementing a pilot project; and (4) translating any lessons learned into updates and improvements to the protocol.

The goal of this project is to expand the GHG market in Indian country by developing rangeland management carbon sequestration projects on Indian lands and publishing a carbon offset project guidance with the American Carbon Registry for registration of projects developed on various Indian land types. Another outcome of this project will be the creation of an aggregation program to enroll tribal and individual Indian lands.

2011 Featured Projects

Agricultural Soil Carbon in the Palouse Region

The introduction and widespread application of sustainable carbon farming practices in the Palouse region has the potential to restore the soil quality and ensure the longevity of one of the United States’ most important breadbaskets. Demonstrating the ecological and economic value to landowners of increased soil carbon stemming from improved agricultural practices is a critical component in facilitating the large-scale adoption of such practices. To this end, this project seeks to provide a roadmap for developing large-scale, high-quality, and low-cost soil carbon transactions.