USDA Conservation Innovation Grants | Landowner & Tenant Partnerships

By Shelley Swearingen – April 29, 2020


On April 28, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a huge push in incentives towards conservation. The USDA is investing $15 million to assist farmers in new & innovative techniques to help in the conservation of agricultural lands. These dollars will be dispersed to farmers that apply for a Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The grants application will consist of procedures to increase production while improving natural resources. The main focus areas this year are water reuse, water quality, air quality, energy conservation, and conservation of wildlife habitats.


“Conservation Innovation Grants have helped spur new tools and technologies to conserve natural resources, build resilience in producers’ operations and improve their bottom lines. This year will be the first time we are offering water reuse as a priority, and we’re excited to see how these projects play a role in USDA’s broader strategy for water reuse on agricultural land.” – Matthew Lohr, NRCS Chief 1


Conservation Innovation Grants seek to assist farmers, ranchers, and foresters develop new techniques in conservation on private properties. These grants must be financially matched by the applicants. All private citizens and non-Federal organizations are eligible to apply.


Applications are due by June 29, 2020; for more information on how to apply and assistance, please visit:


For general assistance on how you can improve conservation efforts, please visit: This site has links to find your local USDA service center to discuss techniques and resources with a local conservationist. These centers can also assist in finding technical assistance. (A list of links to local service centers has been provided below, as well.)


What does Conservation mean for a Landowner?

Many landowners that are focused on long term ROI of their land investment often look at conservation as “preventative maintenance.”


Building healthy soils on your farms and land is similar to annual improvements and maintenance of a rental property or similar real estate investment.


How does a Landowner / Landlord take the first step toward conservation?

Generally speaking, it starts with a conversation with your farm tenant. Open communication and sharing the vision for building long term value of the land – both to improve productivity and attain higher land values over time.


Productivity / Profitability Mapping will help you better understand the most productive acres of land on the farm and make educated decisions about the unproductive areas


How do conservation, regenerative agriculture and/or no till build long term value?

The soil on your farms and land are a vital asset – whether that is building wealth through land value appreciation for retirement or passing the farm on to the next generation – Preserving the soil preserves the wealth.


“Buy a farm and get rich slowly.”

 “Preserve the soil and preserve your wealth for generations.” – Johnny Klemme



To learn more about a land management strategy and partnering with farmer tenants who believe in building land value appreciation, start a conversation today. We strive to stay updated in best practices and new technologies.  We’re here to support our farmer, rancher, forester, and landowner neighbors.


Curious about what your land is worth?

How well is your land being managed?


Contact Johnny Klemme at (765) 427-1619 or



  1. USDA Announces $15 Million for Conservation Innovation Grants


Helpful Links:


Local Farm Service Agency Centers:

White County:


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