$500M Available for USDA’s Regional Conservation Partnership Program
News from USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service
WASHINGTON — The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service today announced the availability of $500 million in funding to advance partner-driven solutions to conservation on agricultural land through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). RCPP leverages a voluntary approach to conservation that expands the reach of conservation efforts and climate-smart agriculture through public-private partnerships. Increased funding for fiscal year 2023 is made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act, and this year’s funding opportunity reflects a concerted effort to streamline and simplify the program.
The application period is now open for RCPP Classic and RCPP Alternative Funding Arrangements (AFA). RCPP Classic projects are implemented using NRCS contracts and easements with producers, landowners and communities, in collaboration with project partners. Through RCPP AFA, the lead partner must work directly with agricultural producers to support the development of new conservation structures and approaches that would not otherwise be available under RCPP Classic.
Today’s RCPP Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) showcases a number of program improvements including the increase of project funding ceilings, the simplification of financial assistance and technical assistance structures, a stronger emphasis on locally led conservation, and easement deed flexibilities.
Up to $500 million will be available through the RCPP for fiscal year 2023, of which up to $50 million will prioritize AFAs with Indian Tribes.
Projects selected under this NOFO may be awarded funding through either the Inflation Reduction Act or Farm Bill 2018. Applications for RCPP climate-related projects will receive priority consideration for Inflation Reduction Act funding. The 2023 RCPP priorities are climate-smart agriculture, urban agriculture and projects and, as a Justice40 covered program, projects that serve underserved farmers and ranchers.
NRCS will accept applications now through Aug. 18, 2023, via the RCPP portal. Please note that to request access to the portal, you must have a level 2 verified eAuthentication account with USDA. This can be obtained by following the instructions on the USDA eAuthentication page.
Webinar for interested applicants:
NRCS encourages interested applicants to participate in upcoming webinars that will provide general information about this funding announcement. The webinars will take place on May 24 and June 7, from 2-3:30 p.m. ET. Join via this links posted on the RCPP How to Apply website. Additional webinars may be announced as needed.