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News Release

USDA Invites Input on Regional Conservation Partnership Program Rule

Contact:
Nina Bhattacharyya
352-338-9554


GAINESVILLE, Fla., Feb. 12, 2020 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) seeks public comments on its interim rule through April 13 for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), which helps partners develop and implement conservation solutions that engage farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.

The rule is available on the Federal Register. Electronic comments must be submitted through regulations.gov under Docket ID NRCS-2019-0012. All written comments received will be publicly available on regulations.gov as well. NRCS will evaluate public comments to determine whether additional changes are needed. The agency plans on publishing a final rule following public comment review.

The 2018 Farm Bill made RCPP a stand-alone program with its own dedicated funding, simplifying rules for partners and producers. Additionally, the 2018 Farm Bill reduces the number of funding pools and emphasizes partner reporting of conservation outcomes. The updated program also expands flexibility for alternative funding arrangements with partners and availability of watershed program authorities to projects outside critical conservation areas.

Partners eligible to apply for RCPP include private industry, non-governmental organizations, Indian tribes, state and local governments, water districts and universities. Leveraging of NRCS funding is a key principle of RCPP. Partners are expected to make value-added contributions to amplify the impact of RCPP funding.

NRCS will make available $300 million for projects in fiscal 2020. The agency anticipates making the first alternative funding arrangement (AFA) funding announcement in March, with the fiscal 2020 RCPP Classic announcement following in summer 2020. For more information, visit the RCPP webpage.