Farmers Can Access $1.5 Billion to Promote Conservation and Climate-Friendly Agriculture

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TL/DR –

The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced an investment of $1.5 billion in the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) for fiscal year 2024, aiming to help farmers and landowners adopt conservation strategies and address the climate crisis. The investments, made under the Inflation Reduction Act and the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities, are estimated to support over 225 million acres and more than 180,000 farms over the next five years. Proposals for the RCPP are being accepted until July 2, 2024, with an emphasis on projects led by historically underserved entities or Indian tribes, supporting climate-smart and urban agriculture, conservation, and environmental justice.


USDA $1.5 Billion Investment in Conservation and Climate Solutions

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has allocated $1.5 billion for fiscal year 2024 through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). This initiative aims to partner with farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners by implementing strategies to conserve natural resources and combat climate change. The program encourages projects that can yield farm savings, new revenue streams, and boost productivity.

The USDA’s investments in climate-smart agriculture are projected to support over 180,000 farms and more than 225 million acres by 2029. This funding has been made possible by the Farm Bill and the Inflation Reduction Act, enabling the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to expand RCPP funding.

Two RCPP Funding Opportunities

USDA announced two funding opportunities: RCPP Classic and RCPP Alternative Funding Arrangements (AFA). The RCPP Classic involves NRCS contracts with producers and communities, while the RCPP AFA encourages innovative conservation approaches. The NRCS has earmarked $100 million specifically for Tribal-led projects.

The 2024 RCPP will prioritize projects focusing on climate-smart agriculture, urban agriculture, conservation, and environmental justice. The funding will advance President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative and the America the Beautiful initiative. Project proposals can be submitted through the RCPP portal, and further details on the funding opportunities are available on Grants.gov.

About RCPP

RCPP is a partnership-driven conservation program that offers solutions for resource challenges on agricultural land. As a testament to its success, in November 2023, the NRCS allocated over $1 billion to 81 RCPP projects across the country. Since the beginning of the Biden-Harris Administration, the NRCS has invested a total of $1.8 billion in 256 RCPP projects, covering 49 states and territories.

Improvements in RCPP

Several improvements have been made to the RCPP to refine its efficiency. These include streamlining the agreement negotiation process, updating policy and business tools, training for program managers, and delegating authority for locally-led projects. Furthermore, the NRCS aims to reduce negotiation time from 15 months to 6 months.

For the full list of RCPP improvements, please visit the RCPP website.

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