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Grants to USA Agencies, Nonprofits, For-Profits, IHEs, and Tribes
to Assist Farmers in Adopting Conservation Practices

Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials

Agency Type:

Federal

Funding Source:

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U.S. Department Of Agriculture (USDA) - Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC)

Conf. Date:

08/10/22

Deadline Date:

09/22/22 11:59 PM ET Receipt

Description:

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Grants to USA agencies, nonprofit and for-profit organizations, IHEs, and tribes to assist agricultural producers in adopting conservation practices. Applicants are advised that required registrations may take several weeks to complete. Activities must benefit producers who meet the EQIP program’s eligibility requirements.

The purpose of On-Farm Trials is to stimulate the adoption and evaluation of innovative conservation approaches in partnership with agricultural producers. For 2022, NRCS is implementing On-Farm Trials through eligible entities, which in turn work collaboratively with NRCS and agricultural producers to implement innovative approaches on private lands. On-Farm Trials supports 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.

NRCS intends to use the results of On-Farm Trials project evaluations and analyses to explore developing new or modifying existing guidance documents, technical tools, conservation practice standards, and NRCS business practices.

NRCS gives priority to projects that implement innovative conservation approaches applicable to a range of agricultural operation sizes and types.

The SHD component of On-Farm Trials focuses exclusively on implementation of conservation practices and systems that improve soil health. SHD awardees must agree to follow consistent soil health assessment protocols to evaluate the effects of practice and system implementation. 

On-Farm Trials Priorities:

  1. Irrigation Water Management Technologies 
  2. Climate Smart Agricultural Solutions
  3. Nutrient Management 
  4. Soil Health Demonstration Trial (SHD) 

For more details on program priorities, see pp. 7-10 in the Full Announcement in Attached Files below. 

NRCS is committed to the success of the nation’s Historically Underserved (HU) producers, businesses, and partners. HU producers play a vital role in securing a healthy agricultural economy for the country and are momentous leaders in protecting, enhancing, and sustaining valuable natural resources. NRCS encourages proposal submissions from entities that represent or are focused on working with HU producers. For further details, see pp. 17-18 of the Full Announcement in Attached Files below.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 186076

Estimated Total Program Funding:

$25,000,000

Number of Grants:

The agency expects to make between 10 and 20 award(s).

Estimated Size of Grant:

- Estimated Award Ceiling: $5,000,000
- Estimated Award Floor: $250,000

These numbers refer to the total agreement amount, not a specific budget period.

Term of Contract:

Projects may be between 3 and 5 years in duration. Applicants should plan their projects based on an estimated project start date of April 1, 2023.

Eligibility:

  • City or township governments
  • County governments
  • For profit organizations other than small businesses
  • Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
  • Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
  • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • Private institutions of higher education
  • Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
  • See RFP and/or Grant Guidelines for full eligibility
  • Small businesses
  • Special district governments
  • State governments

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Applicants and applications must meet eligibility criteria by the application deadline to be considered for award. Eligible applicant type is determined by the implementing program statute. Eligibility for this opportunity is limited to the following entity types:

a. City or township governments
b. County governments
c. For profit organizations other than small businesses
d. Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
e. Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
f. Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS (other than institutions of higher education)
g. Private institutions of higher education
h. Public and State-controlled institutions of higher education
i. Small businesses
j. Special district governments
k. State governments

Any producer receiving an On-Farm Trials incentive payment must meet the Environmental Quality Incentive Program’s eligibility requirements listed in 7 CFR § 1466.6(b)(1) through (3):
- Be in compliance with the highly erodible land and wetland conservation provisions (7 CFR § 12).
- Be a person, legal entity, joint operation, Indian tribe, or native corporation who is engaged in agricultural production or forestry management or has an interest in the agricultural or forestry operation as defined in 7 CFR § 1400.
- Have control of the land involved for the term of the proposed contract period.

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. Many of the natural resource priority topics described in this announcement are relevant to urban farm operations.

Individuals are not eligible applicants.

Applicant entities identified in the SAM.gov Exclusions database as ineligible, prohibited/restricted, or excluded from receiving Federal contracts, certain subcontracts, and certain Federal assistance and benefits will not be considered for Federal funding, as applicable to the funding being requested under this Federal program.

For funding restrictions, see pp. 30-31 of the Funding Announcement in Attached Files below.

Pre-proposal Conference:

A webinar for On-Farm Trials applicants is scheduled for August 10, 2022 at 3pm Eastern Time. Information on how to participate in the Microsoft Teams webinar can be obtained through the following link and phone number:

Click here to join the meeting: https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_NmM0ZDNkZTItOTI0OC00Zjk0LWJiMzgtYTgwMjJlZjI4NDU2%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%22ed5b36e7-01ee-4ebc-867e-e03cfa0d4697%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%2290bf243e-bb98-446a-9eba-b963e5885f36%22%7d

Or call in (audio only)
+1 202-650-0123
Phone Conference ID: 727 879 308#

Pre-Application Information:

Applicants must submit their applications through Grants.gov by 11:59 pm Eastern Time on September 22, 2022.

The agency anticipates making selections by December 2022 and expects to execute awards by April 1, 2023. These dates are projected and are subject to change.

Applicants must register for a SAM account and obtain a SAM number and a UEI prior to registering to apply through Grants.gov. Completing the registration steps can take a significant amount of time, so plan accordingly.

Applicants are urged to submit the application package through Grants.gov at least 24-48 hours prior to the close date to provide time to correct any potential technical issues that may disrupt the application submission.

This NFO requires applicants to provide matching funds of at least 25 percent of the Federal amount requested. The match requirement is reduced to 10 percent of the Federal award for applicants who qualify for the Historically Underserved (HU) set-aside. 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.

An applicant organization may submit more than one application for different projects or that propose different approaches.

Additional Information: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/programs/financial/cig/?cid=nrcseprd1459039

CIG Webinar for NFO Applicants: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/programs/financial/cig/?cid=stelprdb1046235#notice-of-funding

View this opportunity on Grants.gov: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=342597

For a list of application documents, see the Package tab (press Preview) on the Grants.gov link above.

View the webinar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=213BiDffKPY
View the webinar (from Aug. 24, 2022): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkuoZzui8SA

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

For questions regarding this opportunity, please contact the following individual providing the NFO number in the subject line:
Name: Ann Mulvaney
Grants Management Specialist FPAC Business Center
Email: ann.mulvaney@usda.gov with a copy to FPAC.BC.GAD@USDA.GOV

For technical issues with Grants.gov, contact Grants.gov Applicant Support at 1-800-518-4726 or support@grants.gov. Awarding agency staff cannot support applicants regarding Grants.gov accounts.

CFDA Number:

10.912

Funding or Pin Number:

USDA-NRCS-NHQ-CIGOFT-22-NOFO0001212

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

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