USDA/NRCS New Era In Conservation

*Jackson, Miss -* The United States Department of Agriculture Natural
Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is promoting a new conservation
program called the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). This
program will work with farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners in
Mississippi to identify and address natural resource objectives and
implement conservation practices and activities to deliver environmental
benefits. These practices will benefit not only individual farming,
ranching, and forest operations, but also local economies and the
communities and resource users in a watershed that depend on the quality of
the natural resources.

The RCPP will competitively award funds to conservation projects designed
by local partners specifically for their area. Eligible partners include
private companies, universities, non-profit organizations, local and tribal
governments and others joining with agricultural and conservation
organizations and producers to invest money, manpower and materials to
their proposed initiatives.

“Local decision making is empowered through this program– bringing
together conservation groups, cities and townships, sportsmen groups,
universities, agricultural associations and others – to design conservation
projects that are tailored to our needs here in Mississippi,” stated Kurt
Readus, NRCS State Conservationist.

Through RCPP, partners propose conservation projects to improve soil
health, water quality and water efficiency, wildlife habitat, and other
related natural resources on private lands.

The RCPP has three funding pools:

· 35 percent of total program funding directed to critical
conservation areas, chosen by the agriculture secretary.

· 40 percent directed to regional or multi-state projects through a
national competitive process.

· 25 percent directed to state-level projects through a competitive
process established by NRCS state leaders.

US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the RCPP
critical conservation areas include the Mississippi River Basin and the
Longleaf Pine Range in Mississippi. USDA is currently accepting proposals
for the program. Pre-proposals are due July 14
and full proposals are due September
26 , 2014 . Visit
the web site for more information on applying.
http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=256049

To learn about technical and financial assistance available through
conservation programs, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/GetStarted . For more on the
2014 Farm Bill, visit www.nrcs.usda.gov/FarmBill.