NRCS Colorado Press Release

USDA Funds Conservation Innovation with $14.6 Million Investment in New Tools, Technology Development

DENVER, CO. – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is awarding more than $14.6 million in grants in states across the country to support the development of innovative systems, tools, and technologies for production and conservation on agricultural lands. Funds are provided through the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program, which awards grants to organizations, universities, and others that are developing innovations to support farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners.

Four projects in Colorado received over $1.7 million for activities in air quality, energy conservation, and wildlife, including:

Air Quality

  • Texas A&M AgriLife Research NRCS Award: $151,500 Demonstration of management practices and technologies to suppress ammonia emissions from livestock facilities along Colorado’s front range. States: TX; CO Texas A&M will validate and demonstrate targeted management practices for confined livestock operations to reduce particulate matter and ammonia emissions in certain weather conditions along the front range of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.
  • Indian Land Tenure Foundation NRCS Award: $513,915 Tribal lands carbon and co-benefits tool States: CO; AZ; CO; KS; NE; NM; OK ;TX Indian Land Tenure Foundation will develop and pilot an operational web-based tool to assess and quantify the benefits of carbon sequestration produced through ecosystem conservation and restoration activities on tribal lands.

Energy Conservation

  • American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy NRCS Award: $595,026 Data-driven market transformation for controlled environment agriculture States: CO; IL; MA; OR; PA; WA The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy will characterize key performance indicators, baseline data, and facility level benchmarking for controlled environmental agricultural facilities. The project will develop a comprehensive suite of data tools, coupled with a market intervention strategy to address barriers to energy conservation, adoption of energy-efficient technologies, access to energy use data, and best practices.


  • Playa Lakes Joint Venture NRCS Award: $514,560 Tree-age: A decision support tool to target brush management and other wildlife practices to benefit rangeland management States: CO; AZ; CO; KS; NE; NM; OK; TX Playa Lakes Joint Venture will build an online decision support tool to estimate effects of wildlife programs and practices on populations of grassland birds. The innovative, interactive tool will be spatially explicit, integrate across breeding and non-breeding seasons, potentially integrate across international borders, and build on years of conservation planning and delivery experience.

This USDA investment has generated more than $15.3 million in partner matching funds, resulting in almost $30 million for conservation innovation. Authorized in the 2002 Farm Bill, the CIG program has awarded nearly $300 million to-date.

NRCS selected 24 projects for the 2020 CIG awards. For a full list of projects and descriptions, visit the CIG website.

More About CIG

CIG is a competitive grants program that supports development, testing, and research of conservation technologies, practices, systems, and approaches on private lands. Grantees must match the CIG investment at least one to one.

All U.S.-based non-Federal entities and individuals are eligible to apply. Funding announcement information can be accessed through the CIG website or on

State NRCS offices are also able to fund and hold their own CIG competitions, in addition to the National CIG signup. Visit NRCS state office websites for information about state CIG competitions.

CIG also contributes to the Agriculture Innovation Agenda, a USDA initiative to align resources, programs, and research to position American agriculture to better meet future global demands. Specifically, USDA is working to stimulate innovation so that American agriculture can achieve the goal of increasing production by 40% while cutting the environmental footprint of U.S. agriculture in half by 2050.

For more information about the CIG program, visit the CIG website.

By Brian Allmer - The BARN

Brian Allmer & the BARN are members of the National Association of Farm Broadcasting (NAFB), the Colorado FFA Foundation, the Colorado 4H Foundation, the Colorado Farm Show Marketing Committee, 1867 Club Board Member, Denver Ag & Livestock Club Member, the Weld County Fair Board, the Briggsdale FFA Advisory Council, Briggsdale 4H Club Beef Leader & Founder / Coordinator of the Briggsdale Classic Open Jackpot Show.