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 NRCS 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.