DES MOINES, IA, SEPT. 13, 2019 – USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced proposals for the updated Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) are due Dec. 3. RCCP supports partner-driven conservation efforts which will improve the nation's water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability. Application information is available on the RCPP webpage or through Application for Program funding on grants.gov.
RCPP-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. Leveraging NRCS funding is a key principle of RCPP; partners are expected to make value-added contributions to amplify the impact of federal funding.
The 2018 Farm Bill made substantive changes making RCPP more straightforward for partners and producers. 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.
“The new RCPP offers opportunities for partners and NRCS to develop and implement unique conservation solutions that engage farmers, ranchers and forest landowners,” said Iowa NRCS State Conservationist Kurt Simon. “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.”
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. In addition, the RCPP Alternative Funding Arrangement provision will be implemented through a separate funding announcement following the publication of the RCPP rule. Up to $300 million is available for RCPP projects for fiscal 2019.
The first iteration of RCPP, which was created originally 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. RCPP is now a stand-alone program with its own dedicated funding, simplifying rules for partners and producers.
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