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News Release

USDA to invest up to $300 million in partner-driven conservation

Contact:
Diane Petit, Public Affairs Specialist
401-822-8843


Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)

Application period has opened for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program

WARWICK, RI, Sept. 25, 2019 – USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced the launch of the updated Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). Potential partners are encouraged to submit proposals that will improve the nation's water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability.

USDA is accepting proposals for RCPP through Dec. 3, 2019. For more information on applying, visit the RCPP webpage or view the Application for Program funding on grants.gov. Rhode Island partners may contact Brunilda Velez at 401-822-8820 or brunilda.velez@usda.gov with questions.

Successful RCPP projects provide innovative conservation solutions, leverage partner contributions, offer impactful and measurable outcomes, and are implemented by capable partners. Eligible partners include private industry, non-government organizations, Indian tribes, state and local governments, water districts and universities. Partners may request between $250,000 and $10 million in RCPP funding through this funding announcement. Partners are expected to make value-added contributions to amplify the impact of RCPP funding.

“The new RCPP offers opportunities for partners and NRCS to develop and implement unique conservation solutions that engage farmers, ranchers and forest landowners,” NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr said. “A single RCPP project can include just about any Farm Bill conservation activity that NRCS is authorized to carry out. We’re really looking forward to what our partners across the Nation propose to do with these new flexibilities.”

The first iteration of RCPP, created by the 2014 Farm Bill, combined nearly $1 billion in NRCS investments with close to $2 billion in non-NRCS dollars to implement conservation practices across the Nation. There are currently 375 active RCPP projects that have engaged close to 2,000 partners. The 2018 Farm Bill made substantive changes to the program to make it more straightforward for partners and producers. Previously, in the 2014 Farm Bill, RCPP derived much of its funding from other NRCS conservation programs, such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). RCPP is now 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 to make the submission and approval process easier.

Later this fall, NRCS will publish a rule in the Federal Register that will establish the policies for the program and further outline the funding process. Also, the RCPP Alternative Funding Arrangement provision will be implemented through a separate funding announcement following publication of the RCPP rule. Up to $300 million is available for RCPP projects for fiscal 2019.