INDIANAPOLIS — USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) State Conservationist Jerry Raynor announced Sept. 6 the launch of the updated Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). Potential partners are encouraged to submit proposals that will improve water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability.
“The new RCPP provides opportunities for partners and NRCS to work together develop and implement unique conservation solutions that engage farmers and forest landowners,” Raynor said. “These projects can include just about any conservation activity that NRCS is authorized to carry out. We’re really looking forward to what our partners in Indiana propose to do with these new flexibilities.”
RCPP eligible partners include private industry, non-government organizations, state and local governments, soil and water conservation districts, Indian tribes, and universities. Partners may request between $250,000 and $10 million in RCPP funding and are expected to leverage funds with match dollars and in-kind contributions. Up to $300 million is available nationwide for RCPP projects for fiscal 2019.
Successful RCPP projects provide innovative conservation solutions, leverage partner contributions, offer impactful and measurable outcomes, and are implemented by capable partners. There are currently 375 active RCPP projects nationwide that have engaged close to 2,000 partners.
The 2018 Farm Bill made substantive changes to the program to make it more straightforward. RCPP is now a stand-alone program with its own dedicated funding, simplifying rules for partners and producers. In addition, the 2018 Farm Bill reduces the number of funding pools to make the submission and approval process easier.
According to Raynor, today’s announcement soliciting proposals is the first step in implementing the new RCPP. Later this fall, NRCS will publish a rule in the Federal Register to 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 publication of the RCPP rule.
A webinar with general program information for RCPP applicants is scheduled for 3 p.m. Eastern Time on September 26th. Information on how to participate in the webinar will be posted on the https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/programs/financial/rcpp/.
— Indiana Natural Resources Conservation Service
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