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News Release

USDA-NRCS and NJ State Agriculture Development Committee will combine resources to preserve NJ farm land

Barbara Phillips, Public Affairs Specialist
(732) 537-6044

SOMERSET, Dec. 21, 2016- USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has selected the New Jersey State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC) proposal, “Whole Farm Systems Conservation Trial,” for the 2017 Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). The Committee’s proposal leverages additional funding to help landowners steward their properties and is intended to give landowners some additional options to consider as they plan to protect their farmland for future farmers. State Conservationist Carrie Lindig said, “We have a long-standing history of working with the New Jersey State Agriculture Development Committee to preserve New Jersey farmland and are pleased to continue our efforts through this RCPP project.”

A portion of the $644,000 allocated by NRCS for the project will be available statewide to enhance natural resource protection on farms already enrolled in farmland preservation, combining NRCS’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funds with State cost-share to offer a higher rate of payments for implementing soil and water conservation practices on permanently preserved farmland throughout the State. The remaining funds will be used to restore and preserve wetlands through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) - Wetlands Reserve Easements (WRE) on farms located in Salem County that have applied to participate in preservation programs offered by SADC and their partners. SADC and their partners will contribute over $9 million to this partnership effort in New Jersey.

SADC’s “Whole Farm Systems Conservation Trial” is among the 88 high-impact projects to improve the nation's water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability announced USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack Wednesday. The total for 2017 RCPP across the country is $225 million in federal funding to combine with an additional $500 million provided by applicants and their partners.

State Conservationist Carrie Lindig said, "This is the third year NRCS has offered the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, and it is proving to be a great benefit for New Jersey. We have great conservation partners here, and it is exciting to see an increasing interest in RCPP and the opportunities it offers to focus Federal funding on specific issues in the region.” RCPP offers new opportunities for the NRCS, conservation partners and agricultural producers to work together to harness innovation, expand the conservation mission, and demonstrate the value and efficacy of voluntary, private lands conservation. The program is increasing investment in conservation from a diversity of partners, leading to cleaner and more abundant water, improved soil and air quality, enhanced wildlife habitat, and stronger rural economies.

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Release No: FY17-11