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RCPP Partner Testimonials

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The Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) relies on innovation and bold ideas from partners. Hear from some of the partners who have worked with NRCS previously:

Headshot of Gary Blair, First Vice President of the Mississippi Association of Conservation Districts and Commissioner of the Lincoln County Conservation District.


Partnerships Help Longleaf Forests, Other Conservation Efforts

"The Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) in Mississippi could allow for the local conservation districts in Mississippi to promote coordination between NRCS and the state’s producers and landowners.  NRCS has always provided great assistance to producers through the conservation district’s partnership agreements and through program contracts or easement agreements. 
"The RCPP in Mississippi could have the opportunity to greatly enhance the partnerships on longleaf pine. The Longleaf Pine Restoration Initiative has allowed private entities, landowners, private conservation-driven nongovernmental organizations and institutions of higher education along with the local conservation districts to restore areas of southern Mississippi back to its original habitat with longleaf pine forests.
"In Mississippi, there will be other opportunities for the RCPP funds. We in Mississippi have worked had to have these existing partners in place and the key will be to provide a ease of applying for the funds and a clear understanding of how the RCPP can be best used in Mississippi for the greatest advantage to the existing conservation programs and to be a benefit to the local landowner."

Gary Blair, First Vice President of the Mississippi Association of Conservation Districts and Commissioner of the Lincoln County Conservation District

President, New Hampshire Association of Conservation Districts

RCPP Can Help Make New Hampshire's Strong Partnerships, Stronger Still

For a small state, New Hampshire has big challenges in natural resource conservation. From water quality issues in our tidal estuaries, rivers and lakes, invasive plants and insects threatening our farm and forestlands health and productivity to the continuous development pressures that drives land use change from farm and forest to asphalt and concrete.

Thankfully, since 1946 New Hampshire's Conservation Districts have worked with landowners, state and federal partners to put conservation practices in place that work toward enhancing our natural resource base.

One of the highlights of the recently passed 2014 Farm Bill is the Regional Conservation Partnership Program. The RCPP is a new opportunity that will help bring new partners and cooperators to working lands conservation.

Partnerships are the cornerstone of working lands conservation efforts and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program encourages new entities to participate in conservation efforts.

Farmers and forestland owners have long known the value of working lands conservation programs and the RCPP can help us deliver the value of conservation to partners that may have not seen an entry point to engaging with working lands conservation to enhance their resource concerns.

The RCPP provides the opportunity to work with new partners from business, institutions, NGO's and municipalities on identifying resource concerns of critical importance and addressing them with them a targeted and flexible approach, too.

New Hampshire is known for its scenic beauty, from the White Mountains to our small and vibrant seacoast area to the small towns and farms that inspired Robert Frost and Norman Rockwell.

Sustainability has become a buzzword among, business, institutional and municipal leaders, large and small and working lands conservation has been quietly engaging in long term sustainable practices for generations.

The RCPP provides an opportunity to take sustainability off the buzzword list and put it to work in sustaining the resources we all depend on.

Roger Noonan, President, New Hampshire Association of Conservation Districts

Headshot of Earl Garber

RCPP Can Encourage New Members To Join Conservation Partnerships

As president of the National Association of Conservation Districts, I appreciate the opportunity to support the implementation of the new USDA NRCS Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). Being a rice, soybean, and hay producer from Southwest Louisiana, I see the RCPP program as an excellent opportunity to reach a new level of commitment to conservation delivery on the working landscape in America. This program will encourage greater investment and participation by the private business sector, membership organizations, and state and local governments.

The concept of partnering to accomplish the delivery of conservation is not new. Soil and Water Conservation Districts were established on the state and local level since the 1930’s to partner in the delivery of federal funds based on local priorities. As our population grows, the management of our natural resource base becomes more complex, requiring the accelerated adoption of conservation practices on an ever growing portion of the landscape. With the baseline of conservation program delivery and a large footprint on the landscape, districts can be the catalyst for driving the concept of expanded partnership to deliver regional conservation.

The application for receiving an RCPP contract will require community leaders working together to determine the target area on the landscape needing further restoration. These areas can be determined based on national, state, and local priority resource concerns. Based on this determination, the potential partners can be recognized and encouraged to bring their influence and support to the table as part of a RCPP proposal.

In Louisiana, we are proud of an ongoing partnership to deliver, improved water use efficiency and quality for wetland wildlife habitat, to the rice growing region of Southwest Louisiana. Ducks Unlimited, local Soil and Water Conservation Districts, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, and private landowners have teamed up to promote the adoption of wildlife habitat on private working lands by developing conservation plans on over 8,000 acres in 2014. Even with the success this program is experiencing, there is still a need for additional partners to expand the conservation effort. The Regional Conservation Partnership Program has the potential to play a part in assisting the growth of this partnership to address new conservation issues.

I encourage each of you to evaluate the conservation needs in your region and consider building a collaborative effort to address these needs.

Earl Garber, Louisiana, President, National Association of Conservation Districts

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