December 30, 2016
Over $46 million in federal funds will be awarded to 25 district-led conservation projects through the USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program in 2017, setting a program record for conservation district leadership.
Authorized by the 2014 farm bill, RCPP allocates federal dollars to large-scale conservation projects developed and implemented by localized partnerships. USDA pledged a total of $225 million in funding for 2017 (with the private sector contributing up to an additional $500 million) for 88 new RCPP projects to improve water quality and quantity, soil health and wildlife habitat nationwide.
“Conservation districts are natural RCPP partners,” said Lee McDaniel, president of the National Association of Conservation Districts. “Districts are professional innovators, experienced collaborators, and natural resource experts that have been working with landowners to put conservation on the ground since the days of the Dust Bowl.”
One of the 2017 RCPP projects led by a district or state association of districts spans three states – Florida, Georgia, and Alabama – and the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin. There, a team of over 30 partners led by the Flint River Soil and Water Conservation District will put $3 million in RCPP funds to work developing and implementing climate change adaption solutions.
“Assisting producers and landowners in the implementation of best management practices in these watersheds is critical to the long-term health and resiliency of our shared natural resources,” said FRSWCD Chairman Marty McLendon. “We look forward to working with NRCS and our project partners to implement a strategic project with enduring and impactful outcomes.”
In Delaware, the Kent Conservation District will use nearly $500,000 in RCPP funds to help new and beginning farmers purchase the composters, freezers, and manure storage facilities they need to properly dispose of waste associated with poultry operations.
“The availability of funding to address manure and mortality management challenges has been quite limited over the past few years,” said Tim Riley, KCD’s district coordinator. “The Kent Conservation District Board of Supervisors and I would like to thank USDA-NRCS for selecting our RCPP proposal. These funds will go a long way to address these resource concerns for new and beginning poultry farmers.”
For more information on district-led 2017 RCPP projects, go to NACD’s website www.nacdnet.org
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